Improving Xom!!!


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Post Saturday, 7th January 2012, 13:24

Improving Xom!!!

This is an analysis of why the current Xom is bad, and how the god could be made more useful and more interesting.
Related Dev Wiki page.

A. History

In the old days, before Stonesoup, Xom was basically the god of mutations. Players would pick Xom, knowing that if they survived his antics long enough, they'd eventually be kitted out with a full set of mostly beneficial mutations. Xom was endgame material, but just not very interesting.

Then along came Zooko, who overhauled Xom to largely what he is today. In the resulting patch, which was merged into Stonesoup 0.5, Xom received random moods ranging from "beloved toy of Xom" (today's "Teddybear") to "beloved plaything" (today's "very special plaything"), which heavily influence the severity of his actions. In the original patch, the good moods were all but guaranteed to result in a good effect and vice versa for the bad moods. The devteam didn't like how this enabled the player to game the effects, so this was eventually changed to have the chance of good/bad effects to scale along the mood scale.
In addition to the new moods, the game now kept track of Xom's "interest" which counts down to 0 (at which point Xom gets BORED and only picks bad effects) and can be increased by a large number of pointless or harmful actions. Eventually, this too was changed to be somewhat less grindable.

Much later, with the introduction of Jiyva, Xom basically lost his trademark ability of mutating the player. Oh, he can still do so, but the chances are much lower. Also, at some point the number of mutations got capped, so the player couldn't get the screenfuls of mutations anymore, anyway.

With all these changes, Xom became more dangerous (or maybe he'd always been that way and it only became apparent during testing). Anyway, as a result, a number of restrictions were added to guarantee a minimum experience level for some effects. As a result, Xom has become positively timid in the early game and more boring than ever. Tension was added to differentiate between combat and non-combat situations, but outside of fights involving extremely dangerous monsters, so far it doesn't have any noticeable effect.

All of which leads me to the conclusion that Xom is in need for yet another overhaul.


B. Who is Xom?

Xom is one of the two true chaotic gods in Crawl's pantheon. (In my opinion, Makhleb is basically an evil god with a side-order of chaos.)
Where Lugonu personifies chaos in the sense of opposition to the established order and the destruction of the universe, Xom embodies randomness, chance, and personal whims. Other than Lugonu, Xom does not wish to overthrow the other gods as they and their followers provide an endless source of entertainment.

Xom is the embodiment of "schadenfreude" and can be an absolute jerk about it. In real life, Xom would be the guy to play mean, potentially harmful, pranks on unsuspecting victims and then mock them for having no sense of humour.

Xom does not like being predictable, at all. When Xom gets the feeling of possibly having become predictable, he'll turn around and do the exact opposite, even to his own disadvantage, just to confuse everyone.

Xom has a rather short attention span and wants to be constantly kept entertained. Over the course of centuries, Xom has come to appreciate that while followers' quick and messy deaths provide a few seconds of utmost hilarity, keeping them alive but under constant pressure can be much more fun in the long run. However, when bored, Xom still tends to seek entertainment in the easiest manner available to a god: by torturing his followers.

Disclaimer: When I use the male pronoun to refer to Xom, I do so because that's how I personally picture this deity. Naturally, within the game, Xom is as genderless as all the other gods. (Those Demigods will sure get a nasty surprise when they attain their goal. Well, except that they won't care anymore.)


C. Does Xom follow Crawl's game design goals?

Major design goals
  • challenging and random gameplay, with skill making a real difference
  • meaningful decisions (no no-brainers)
  • avoidance of grinding (no scumming)
  • gameplay supporting painless interface and newbie support

The current Xom fails in several aspects of this. There's at least one major effect that makes many players decide that going unarmed is much safer than using a weapon, which borders on being a no-brainer while being completely non-obvious to newbies. Worse, even weapon-users can greatly reduce the likelihood of their weapon being animated by simply not wielding it outside of combat, which is even less obvious and seems a bit grindy. As for the first point, Crawl is difficult enough in the early game when the player doesn't have any escape options, but Xom might actually exacerbate this problem. Something to keep in mind is that Xom is particularly popular among casual players, for the sheer wackiness of the game, whereas players interested in actually winning the game are extremely unlikely to pick Xom outside of challenge games. While the first is fine it itself, there should also be something Xom has to offer to the latter type of player.

The interest rate used to be heavily grindable by performing "stupid" actions (such as zapping yourself with an unknown wand), but that was greatly toned down, though traces still exist. The saving grace is that interest hardly plays any role at all. In fact, I cannot remember ever having suffered a particularly bad effect from Xom being bored. If it happened (rarely enough) it was usually a minor miscast; the really bad effects are much more likely to occur when the interest counter is greater than zero, simply because boredom is such a rare state. Unfortunately, spoiler myth still claims otherwise, and players still tend to attempt grinding Xom's interest, either because they overestimate its importance, or because they want to minimize the remaining effect.

Also, there are the so-called "annoyance gifts" where Xom specifically gifts an item you could use but currently can't because the slot is blocked by a cursed item. This is, of course, highly scummable: for example, you can increase the likelihood of rings by wearing cursed gloves. The thing is, I'm just not sure how much that actually matters: Depending on tension, annoyance gifting (a positive effect) happens between 4 and 8 times out of 1000 Xom effects.

Minor design goals
  • clarity (playability without need for spoilers)
  • internal consistency
  • replayability (using branches, species, playing styles and gods)
  • proper use of out of depth monsters

Of the minor goals, Xom surprisingly suffers from a lack of replayability, by which I mean that all of my Xom games (in which admittedly I didn't get very far) ended up feeling the same. Now, of course the same could be said about most of the other gods, but for Xom in particular it's the opposite of what you'd expect.

I've already given examples of Xom effects where the optimal behaviour is non-intuitive and goes counter to the goal of clarity.

Xom does like to throw out of depth monsters at the player, which early on often is a death sentence. Other than a randomly generated OOD encounter, the summoned monsters will pop up very close to you, will be instantly alert, and quite often bring some friends. On the upside, they're summoned, so if you do have the means to escape, you'll be able to safely return to the level later-on. Unfortunately, in the (very) early game, the player is unlikely to have any of the usual escape tools, while during the later game, Xom's summoning actions are easy to avoid, if a bit costly in the long run. Mostly because of this, common advice is that if you want to play Xom, you should pick a god-less background, to build up the character a bit (by gathering items and gaining hit points) before picking Xom at the Temple. However, since Xom is available from the start, this (again) is non-obvious to new players. Removing Chaos Knights is an option, but seeing how he's so popular among new players who may have severe trouble reaching the Temple that would be a great loss.

This means that Xom's actions need to scale with whatever the player's got at her disposal to cope with them. This was partly adressed in that the number of summoned monsters scales with the player's experience level and (for example) banishment is outright disallowed for young followers, but it's clear that this is not enough. Getting a single hellion is a death sentence to any character without immediate escape options, while even a small group of imps can be laughed off by most but the most puny followers.


D. So how should Xom be changed?

Let's start at the last point: Hostile summons (overall chance at zero tension: 2.4%)
The type of demon currently depends entirely on Xom's mood, which cannot be influenced by the player in any form. Scaling the type rather than (or in addition to) the number of summons may go a long way in making the early game fairer and the late game more interesting.

Animated weapon (chance at zero tension: 0.8%)
To get rid of the grinding involved, I propose that Xom animate the weapon in the player's inventory that deals the most damage (but is slowest). For unspoiled players, this will usually be the wielded weapon, so this change would not affect newbies. Picking a random carried weapon is an alternative only in theory, as that would result in players carrying several junk weapons instead of wielding one. (Incidentally, a similar measure should be applied to Mara duplicating the player as that suffers from an even more spoilerific work-around.) At the same time, the effect should scale with the player's experience level. Currently, there's a fixed threshold of xl 7 after which there's a 25% chance of weapon animation happening instead of hostiles being summoned. This chance could also depend on the player's experience level.

Banishment (chance at zero tension: 0.1%, for a character at xl 10)
This is the rarest of all Xom effects and the one most feared by players. This is the case because banishment has far-reaching consequences and is a death sentence in the earlyish game. Currently, the player needs to have at least experience level 9 to be banished by Xom, and there's an additional saving throw depending on character level. None of this changes the fact that if a character is banished, she will spend the next thousands of turns trying to get out of the Abyss and fighting for her life. Thus, I propose to add a chance for Xom un-banishing followers if the tension is sufficiently high. Since tension takes into account character health and level, this should result in a shorter duration of stay for weaker followers (though xl could additionally be included in the formula), as it should be, with the chance of returning to safety increasing the longer they manage to survive. Obviously, they may still die in there, so the chance of banishment happening should remain low, though maybe the xl restriction could be loosened a bit.

Miscast effects:
EDIT: Added later, after the reminder by cerebovssquire.
Xom uses the same miscast effect as Zot traps actual spellcasting miscasts. There are four tiers of miscast effects: The harmless level 0 miscasts (15.3% at zero tension) have a 5% chance of being replaced by flavour messages. In addition, there are the minor level 1 miscasts (6.7%), the major level 2 miscasts (3.2%) and the nasty level 3 miscasts (0.7%). The latter two may include banishment or summoned demons of the highest 1 tier. Currently, the severity of one of Xom's miscast effects depends entirely on his mood. To make this fairer to the player, this should factor in experience level, too.

Teleportation roundabout:
This is not really a bad effect (in fact, it's usually a way of both mapping a level and detecting monsters), but it's an effect that happens much too often, something that is exacerbated by this being both a good (4.7%) and bad act (5.9% at zero tension). The difference is that the good effect tries to place the player in an area that is less dangerous than the original one, while the bad effect does the opposite. However, that doesn't excuse the two effects to be so similar and happen so often. I think that the effect should be split into a teleportation roundabout that is a good act requiring tension, has lower chances of happening, a smaller number of possible stops, and always leaves the player (nearby) where she started out; and a simple teleport aimed at a more (bad effect) or less (good effect) dangerous location.

Vitrification (chance at zero tension: 3.8%):
Vitrification also happens a tad too often. It's supposed to be a good effect, but it's also a bit boring. It would be more useful if the surrounding part of the level has not been mapped yet, or at least more interesting if there are hostile monsters on the other side of the wall. Granted, the latter would be a bad effect, but the former would be easy to achieve. The radius depends on Xom's mood, but personally I consider the large-area vitrification to be more boring than funny. Things could be spiced up a little if there was a chance for some squares not being vitrified, and the larger the radius, the larger said chance.

Annoyance gifts (0.8% at high tension):
This is a tricky one. On tbe one hand, players love to complain about acquirement producing useless items; on the other hand, it's much too easy to influence Xom's choice of item, though considering its rarity, this only matters in the long run.

The code uses the following condition for annoyance gifts:
* If the player is wielding a cursed weapon, there's a 50% chance of getting another weapon of the same type.
* Otherwise, if the player is wearing cursed gloves, there's a 50% chance of getting a random ring.
* Otherwise, if the player is wearing a cursed amulet, there's a 50% chance of getting a random amulet.
* Otherwise, if the (non-Octopode) player is wearing at least one cursed ring, there's a 50% chance of getting another random ring.
* Otherwise, if the player is wielding a weapon, there's a 20% chance of getting a weapon of another base type than the wielded one.
* Otherwise, if the player is wearing a cursed cloak, there's a 50% chance of getting a random type of armour.

For all of these, the quality of the generated item depends on Xom's mood. You'll notice that with the exception of the weapon with a different base type, all of these are actually more useful than a random item gift, provided the player has a way to remove the curse. Once the player starts encountering mummies, her equipment becomes very likely to being cursed, and if its quality is sufficiently good, she may even decide to actively curse some of it, so as to improve her chances of getting good items. (Note that other than with Ashenzari, this is not how the god is supposed to work. Rather, it's a result of a design flaw.)

While I like the concept of Xom gifting stuff designed to annoy the player, it appears like he's actually more successful in that respect if he chooses to randomly gift her with some kind of armour she cannot wear, a cool artefact with a bad property, or even yet another pile of rocks. Thus, I propose to change annoyance gifts to do just that. The curse requirements can be kept and used if ?remove curse are sufficiently rare (no idea if that can be tracked right now). Otherwise, specifically pick weapons for which the player has a low skill, high-AC armour artefacts for characters with low Armour/high Spellcasting or, vice versa, low-AC artefact armour for characters specializing in Armour. Hand out helmets if the player has the horns mutation, boots for hooved followers, etc. Gift an item that has the exact same properties as the one the player is already wearing. Create a powerful artefact and add a property that is bound to be harmful considering the character's species and playing style: i.e. Hunger for mummies and -CAST for non-casters doesn't count. If this seems overly harsh, consider that the chance of getting an acquirement gift at high tension is 1.4% and a random gift even 5.4%.

In general, check tension more often. Increase the chance for good actions the higher the tension, and include lots of effects useful in combat (potion effects, allies, animating monster weapons, ...) Of course, Xom being Xom, even a "good" act could have bad side-effects like the player being confused alongside the monsters or a monster polymorph ending up making the monster more dangerous. Add special effects for particularly high tension, such as starting a forest fire or conjuring up a thunder storm (complete with clouds of rain and chain lightning). On the other end of the spectrum, greatly increase the range of available flavour messages to balance out Xom acting more often.

Keep track of the time spent at low tension, and increase the chance for bad effects as that time increases. Repurpose Xom's interest counter for this, and warn the player about Xom becoming BORED once a given threshold is reached. The importance of the grindy ways of keeping Xom's interest high should be reduced even further and only have the effect of delaying Xom's inevitable wrath. For bad actions, only use damage-dealing effects if there are (low-tension) monsters around. Otherwise, the player will simply rest out the damage and spend even more time being boring.

Get rid of the poisson distribution of effects which makes it close to impossible to tell the chance of any given effect taking place, and replace it with a mapping of chances to actions, for each of which the power, tension requirements etc. can be defined separately. The severity (how extreme Xom's mood is in either direction) should mostly be replaced in favour of tension tracking. To determine effects' power, use Xom's mood directly, so that e.g. an acquirement happening when Xom is an extremely bad mood is more likely to be of very low quality than using the same power as it would have been for Xom being in an extremely good mood.

Add a low chance for getting a particularly good gift with long-term effects (mostly) regardless of Xom's mood. In particular, don't use mood for determining the power of said gift. Guarantee this happening comparatively early in the game, possibly by including the turn count or experience level in the formula. Such a gift could be a strongish permanent ally, a acquirement-level artefact, or an awesome mutation. This is mostly intended to keep players' interest even should Xom decide to be otherwise mean and/or stingy.


Comments, anyone?
Last edited by jpeg on Saturday, 7th January 2012, 16:21, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Saturday, 7th January 2012, 13:39

Re: Xom!!!

I agree with your proposed changes to the hostile summons; you mention them as Xom summoning demons, are you considering miscast effects? I have played loads of Xom and have never experienced him summonings 1s as a summoning effect ("Fight to survive, mortal!"), but I have had a Pit Fiend on D:1 through a summonings miscast which was hilarious at the time; but it was unavoidable and potentially very annoying (for instance, if that character had something special or was a bit further than D:1). Perhaps this should be toned down a little too.

There are certain entry vaults that contain extremely dangerous monsters behind glass (ranging up to multiple orbs of fire). Don't these increase tension? If they do, the scumming problem has only become worse because in addition to holding down 5 on D:1 you scum your starting vault multiple times, and either tension or the vaults should be changed. If they don't, there's no problem of course.

Another problem is getting a 2, 3, 4 or even 5 (soul eater, sun demon, imp, hellwing, whatever) and mashing 5 till it eventually turns into a friendly, permanent Ice Fiend, Executioner or whatever. If ally polymorphing is a "good effect" that is affected by tension, that's fine, if it's not that could maybe be changed - that or demon polymorphing. It currently frequently happens in situations with very low or no tension, anyway.

Guarantee this happening comparatively early in the game, possibly by including the turn count or experience level in the formula. Such a gift could be a strongish permanent ally, a acquirement-level artefact, or an awesome mutation. This is mostly intended to keep players' interest even should Xom decide to be otherwise mean and/or stingy.


This could lead to behaviour such as starting Ds and quitting at XL 2 if you don't get a certain mutation. And I currently have a macro that will clear D:1 in 30 seconds so I can start scumming D:1 for Xom gifts, and if this was implemented I'd probably start abusing this "guaranteed gift" instead of mashing 5. :P
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Post Saturday, 7th January 2012, 15:36

Re: Xom!!!

cerebovssquire wrote:I agree with your proposed changes to the hostile summons; you mention them as Xom summoning demons, are you considering miscast effects? I have played loads of Xom and have never experienced him summonings 1s as a summoning effect ("Fight to survive, mortal!"), but I have had a Pit Fiend on D:1 through a summonings miscast which was hilarious at the time; but it was unavoidable and potentially very annoying (for instance, if that character had something special or was a bit further than D:1). Perhaps this should be toned down a little too.

Right, I forgot to address miscasts. While it would be hard to control miscasts in detail as the relevant code is separated from Xom's (as it should be), it would be easy to factor in experience level in the choice of miscast severity, which currently only takes into account Xom's mood.

There are certain entry vaults that contain extremely dangerous monsters behind glass (ranging up to multiple orbs of fire). Don't these increase tension? If they do, the scumming problem has only become worse because in addition to holding down 5 on D:1 you scum your starting vault multiple times, and either tension or the vaults should be changed.

Luckily, that is not the case. I've just tested this by encasing a golden dragon, a killer klown and an orb of fire in a glass cage on D:1, and the tension was still zero. So, while tension is bound to be problematic in some respect, this is not one of them.

Another problem is getting a 2, 3, 4 or even 5 (soul eater, sun demon, imp, hellwing, whatever) and mashing 5 till it eventually turns into a friendly, permanent Ice Fiend, Executioner or whatever. If ally polymorphing is a "good effect" that is affected by tension, that's fine, if it's not that could maybe be changed - that or demon polymorphing. It currently frequently happens in situations with very low or no tension, anyway.

Indeed, that is not supposed to happen. Ally polymorphing should only take place with tension, and I'm a bit surprised to hear that is not the case.

jpeg wrote:Guarantee this happening comparatively early in the game, possibly by including the turn count or experience level in the formula. Such a gift could be a strongish permanent ally, a acquirement-level artefact, or an awesome mutation. This is mostly intended to keep players' interest even should Xom decide to be otherwise mean and/or stingy.


This could lead to behaviour such as starting Ds and quitting at XL 2 if you don't get a certain mutation. And I currently have a macro that will clear D:1 in 30 seconds so I can start scumming D:1 for Xom gifts, and if this was implemented I'd probably start abusing this "guaranteed gift" instead of mashing 5. :P

Well, yeah, I am aware of the problem. If it helps any, I wasn't thinking of the really early game. My intention was mostly to give characters starting out with Xom a slight guaranteed advantage over those picking him at the Temple. Of course, you could still try to start-scum if it happened around XL 4 or 5. It's more of an add-on anyway, so I wouldn't be sad if that got left out. The other changes are more important.
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Post Saturday, 7th January 2012, 16:18

Re: Xom!!!

jpeg wrote:This is an analysis of why the current Xom is bad, and how the god could be made more useful and more interesting.

A. History

In the old days, before Stonesoup, Xom was basically the god of mutations. Players would pick Xom, knowing that if they survived his antics long enough, they'd eventually be kitted out with a full set of mostly beneficial mutations. Xom was endgame material, but just not very interesting.

...

Much later, with the introduction of Jiyva, Xom basically lost his trademark ability of mutating the player. Oh, he can still do so, but the chances are much lower. Also, at some point the number of mutations got capped, so the player couldn't get the screenfuls of mutations anymore, anyway.

To be honest, this is the turning point for me on why I stopped playing Xom altogether. Mutations had always been a fun and random (ie. chaotic) aspect of the game, and by severely limiting that to a non-chaotic, "mindless" God, rather than XOM!, it just takes out a whole dimension out of the Xom-worshipping altogether, and just made him a "dangerous by early-game, negligible by late-game" kind of God, which is boring.

jpeg wrote:there should also be something Xom has to offer to the latter type of player.

This is very true. However, the items that you are listing are mostly stuff that will be against the player, not supporting him. So, in effect, it will still not be a "serious" God in any way, just a challenge kind of God.

jpeg wrote:In general, check tension more often. Increase the chance for good actions the higher the tension, and include lots of effects useful in combat (potion effects, allies, animating monster weapons, ...) Of course, Xom being Xom, even a "good" act could have bad side-effects like the player being confused alongside the monsters or a monster polymorph ending up making the monster more dangerous. Add special effects for particularly high tension, such as starting a forest fire or conjuring up a thunder storm (complete with clouds of rain and chain lightning). On the other end of the spectrum, greatly increase the range of available flavour messages to balance out Xom acting more often.

Now this is good. I would personally love a God which simply messes around with His followers in -every- fight. It will really gets the blood pumping when you have to really prepare for every possibilities each time you are getting in a battle (if you are the cautious type), or just swing with it (if you're the opposite).

jpeg wrote:Add a low chance for getting a particularly good gift with long-term effects (mostly) regardless of Xom's mood. In particular, don't use mood for determining the power of said gift. Guarantee this happening comparatively early in the game, possibly by including the turn count or experience level in the formula. Such a gift could be a strongish permanent ally, a acquirement-level artefact, or an awesome mutation. This is mostly intended to keep players' interest even should Xom decide to be otherwise mean and/or stingy.

Why don't you just give Chaos Knights a chaos-branded starting weapon then? Now that will be very interesting! :)

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Post Sunday, 8th January 2012, 02:04

Re: Improving Xom!!!

I'll be watching this thread with interest.

One idea I've had was to temper the worst effects with some form of compensation. For instance, if you get banished to the Abyss at a low level, you might get a decent set of pets to give you a fighting chance to survive, or Xom might put an exit portal near you that he drags away from you at movement speed until he gets tired of it (along with a message letting you know he'll eventually stop doing it).

Regarding the weapon animation idea, this still makes Unarmed Combat a non-obvious good idea for Xom followers, I think.
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Post Sunday, 8th January 2012, 06:18

Re: Improving Xom!!!

I second the previous poster: I shall be watching this thread with interest.

Somewhy, I think that sometimes it would be unusual for Xom to mimic other deities' restrictions and divine abilities for a while -- in a distorted way.
For example, when he gives you "Corruption", he just turns random tiles around you into monsters/chaos_spawn/butterflies/his_altars, and when he lets you Scry, he Misleads you at the same time, and Scrying reverts back at the same time as Misleading -- and potions of healing and clarity won't help!

And, at the same time, why can't he pretend to be serious sometimes and, say, put certain goals for his very special playthings? Say, "Kill this mushroom, it obstructs the flow of the Dorkse" or "This wall should not be here, remove it!" or "I shall give you strength (berserk), but you must kill ten of those who (something that he doesn't really care about)!".

I think chaotic creatures cannot be truly chaotic without sometimes, very sometimes, being serious.
I think his very nature of being ONLY chaotic and usually unreliable is the no-brainer that results in "don't worship him".
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Post Sunday, 8th January 2012, 07:56

Re: Improving Xom!!!

I've always felt Xom should give big rewards with big risks but while playing Xom I've never felt the reward part and have only ever felt the risk part. It'd be nice if instead of Xom having his moods he just randomly does either good or bad things... moods so to speak would happen naturally anyway (it's possible, and happens quite often actually, to flip a coin and get heads or tails many times in a row). A lot of neutral effects are welcome too because they're just fun. I also like the idea of getting banished for a few hundred turns and then being unbanished.

I think with work Xom could be a valid choice for a god.

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Post Sunday, 8th January 2012, 08:49

Re: Improving Xom!!!

snow wrote:I've always felt Xom should give big rewards with big risks but while playing Xom I've never felt the reward part and have only ever felt the risk part.


How up to date is the wiki regarding Xom actions? Because a lot of the good actions listed seem pretty lackluster. Position swapping and vitrification are kind of pointless -- they're fun as a neutral thing but they're not really all that good.

One "good effect" idea: Xom smites a powerful monster in your vicinity, ones who are extremely dangerous and likely to stomp you. If he's in a really good mood you might get ally-kill XP for it.

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Post Sunday, 8th January 2012, 08:57

Re: Improving Xom!!!

Well, some are lackluster, but others such as potion effects (haste, might, agility), permanent allies (including sun demons and other powerful demons, which he may polymorph to even stronger ones) and gifts (I have had very strong rods, spellbooks, +11 artefact plate mail, wands of healing/hasting/tele, ?acquirement and many, many more) and some others are great. Also, you still amass quite a collection of (mostly good) mutations on non-undead species, which, considering the quantity, is actually pretty decent - and I wouldn't say that a majority of good effects aren't strong.
The quality of his effects isn't really a problem in my opinion; it's stuff like the balance of his demon summons and an extreme scumming potential, and possibly one could re-adjust the frequency of some, like reduce vitrification as mentioned above.

I like the idea of him sending you to the Abyss for a couple hundred turns. That it's only temporary should become clear in the flavour message that goes with the banishment, though.
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Post Sunday, 8th January 2012, 11:22

Re: Improving Xom!!!

srulz wrote:Why don't you just give Chaos Knights a chaos-branded starting weapon then? Now that will be very interesting! :)

That would certainly be one way to go about it. :) However, I'd be worried that a chaos weapon from the start would be both overpowered and overly dangerous. Also, having such a weapon guaranteed seems strange when everything else is random.

MyOtheHedgeFox wrote:Somewhy, I think that sometimes it would be unusual for Xom to mimic other deities' restrictions and divine abilities for a while -- in a distorted way.
For example, when he gives you "Corruption", he just turns random tiles around you into monsters/chaos_spawn/butterflies/his_altars, and when he lets you Scry, he Misleads you at the same time, and Scrying reverts back at the same time as Misleading -- and potions of healing and clarity won't help!

That sounds like a lot of work for, I suspect, little gain. Do you mean like abilities with a drawback? Why would anyone use them?

MyOtheHedgeFox wrote:And, at the same time, why can't he pretend to be serious sometimes and, say, put certain goals for his very special playthings? Say, "Kill this mushroom, it obstructs the flow of the Dorkse" or "This wall should not be here, remove it!" or "I shall give you strength (berserk), but you must kill ten of those who (something that he doesn't really care about)!".

That's a really cute idea. Both defining and keeping track of those quests would involve some coding skill, but it would certainly be a cool addition. Maybe you should add that to the wiki: https://crawl.develz.org/wiki/doku.php? ... om_effects

dtsund wrote:One idea I've had was to temper the worst effects with some form of compensation. For instance, if you get banished to the Abyss at a low level, you might get a decent set of pets to give you a fighting chance to survive, or Xom might put an exit portal near you that he drags away from you at movement speed until he gets tired of it (along with a message letting you know he'll eventually stop doing it).

Regarding the weapon animation idea, this still makes Unarmed Combat a non-obvious good idea for Xom followers, I think.

Well, the idea was that if tension plays a larger role then hopefully things would straighten themselves naturally. If Xom brings you into an overly dangerous situation, he'd be likely to intervene on your side a couple turns later.
I like the idea of explicitly placing an exit portal along with the stair repelling effect. Could sometimes replace the simple un-banishing.

As for unarmed combat, that's only the case if you go entirely unarmed and don't carry any weapon at all. (Of course, in that case Xom could still summon a random dancing weapon.)

snow wrote:I've always felt Xom should give big rewards with big risks but while playing Xom I've never felt the reward part and have only ever felt the risk part. It'd be nice if instead of Xom having his moods he just randomly does either good or bad things... moods so to speak would happen naturally anyway (it's possible, and happens quite often actually, to flip a coin and get heads or tails many times in a row).

That's an interesting take. Replace mood entirely with tension-dependent randomness... Intriguing.

nicolae wrote:How up to date is the wiki regarding Xom actions? Because a lot of the good actions listed seem pretty lackluster. Position swapping and vitrification are kind of pointless -- they're fun as a neutral thing but they're not really all that good.

One "good effect" idea: Xom smites a powerful monster in your vicinity, ones who are extremely dangerous and likely to stomp you. If he's in a really good mood you might get ally-kill XP for it.

Yeah, many of the effects have been added simply to increase Xom's spectrum of possible actions. Vitrification, in particular, can be interesting, but as I wrote above it just happens much too often. I don't think any new effects have been added lately. The most "recent" ones were probably "snakes to sticks" and the occasional trailing smoke.

You're certainly welcome to suggest new Xom effects (https://crawl.develz.org/wiki/doku.php? ... om_effects) or implement some of those already suggested. Note that Xom already may throw lightning at a monster (which is more flavourful than smiting because it comes with a visual effect), though the chance may be too low.
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Post Sunday, 8th January 2012, 11:40

Re: Improving Xom!!!

Well, I've read most of the OP but I'm not sure this is going in the right direction. Or rather, the right direction but not nearly enough. To fix xom (or jiyva or beogh, or any of the other interesting but meh gods), you have to get into why people choose a god. Naturally, people choose a god because that god will save him from dying. A few big ways this can happen:

1)Panic buttons - a big baddie suddenly is just going to kill you now. This is how to get out of there or kill him before he kills you.
2)Power before lair - getting to midgame will ensure nearly any character has the power to win. A few gods (trog, kiku, oka, mainly those with decent * piety abilities) help immensely here
3) Consistent power. If, say, your character has HP+++, rF ++, clarity, speed+++ mutations, you're going to have a much easier time.

Xom, currently, has none of these. I'd say for a god to compete with the other gods who have decent levels of all of these, it had better be darned good at one or two of them, or at least decent at three. The switch from old xom to new took out 3 to make xom more active, a good idea I think, so let's brainstorm about how to make xom good without making him bland. Will making his current powers stronger and more reliable do anything to make people choose xom? No, since it doesn't add one of those three things (unless one goes apeshit with it (see below).

So here's some things I thnk can be used for Xom (not saying these are great, just hopefully in the right direction):

1) Piety/Invoke Xom:

Give the ability to invoke a random tactical good power of Xom. Should be on the "average" level of a good nemelex card or god power (Lehudib's crystal spear, 12 red wasps, makhleb's summon greater demon, ) at high piety, but of course you have no idea what it is. However, the emphasis here is that, regardless of what is chosen randomly, it should be something that should actually have a chance of flipping the tide

Lack of piety has always made xom scummy, adding some form of it in changes this. I do not think it should replace boredom. How do I think piety should be gained? Simple: cumulative high risk tension, lost very quickly over time. Xom is not a god for a player who rests to full hp and fights monsters at a range of 8.

2) Power to get to lair - Either immediately or upon reaching *, xom gives a 1 time gift of several good mutations with at least one offensive mutation (Poison spit, fire breath, poison breath, any draconian breath, spiny, etc). However, it is always balanced out with not one bad mutation but one severely bad mutation: (frail, teleportitis, blurry vision, slowness, etc), i.e. one that will force you to change your strategy.

3) Consistent power - Completely separate high and low tension effects, and literally go apeshit with the random high tension good effects. I'm not talking increasing some effects by a few percentiles or even doubling xom's good effects, I'm talking random armies of high level demons, massive bursts of hellfire all over the room, high chances of teleport to safety, massive HD-resistance status effects thrown out everywhere, slowing all enemies, etc. If nemelex can dish out about 100 massive high level random effects throughout the game, xom's average power should be far and away above that to balance out negative effects , completely uncontrolled good effects, getting the power during high tension rather than immediately before it , and occasionally getting power when you don't actually need it. Avoiding scumming here is simple: Never make high tension effects permanent, but do make some negative low tension effects permanent.
Last edited by greepish on Sunday, 8th January 2012, 12:12, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Sunday, 8th January 2012, 11:51

Re: Improving Xom!!!

jpeg wrote:
srulz wrote:Why don't you just give Chaos Knights a chaos-branded starting weapon then? Now that will be very interesting! :)

That would certainly be one way to go about it. :) However, I'd be worried that a chaos weapon from the start would be both overpowered and overly dangerous. Also, having such a weapon guaranteed seems strange when everything else is random.


Well, technically speaking, you are guaranteed a random-loving God aka Xom when choosing Chaos Knight, so I don't see any problem with being guaranteed a random-effects-branded weapon as well :) at least it will eliminate any boo-hoo start scumming.

BTW, Crazy Yiuf's quarterstaff is one of the most fun weapon in the early-game phase: you either breeze through everything, or berserk/haste/invis/heal a random heavy-hitting monster and get owned! It's fun while it lasts!
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Post Sunday, 8th January 2012, 12:45

Re: Improving Xom!!!

jpeg wrote:
MyOtheHedgeFox wrote:Somewhy, I think that sometimes it would be unusual for Xom to mimic other deities' restrictions and divine abilities for a while -- in a distorted way.
For example, when he gives you "Corruption", he just turns random tiles around you into monsters/chaos_spawn/butterflies/his_altars, and when he lets you Scry, he Misleads you at the same time, and Scrying reverts back at the same time as Misleading -- and potions of healing and clarity won't help!

That sounds like a lot of work for, I suspect, little gain. Do you mean like abilities with a drawback? Why would anyone use them?

Well, for the hilarity. I always wanted to be able to summon berserked butterflies (Brothers In Arms, Xom Edition).
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Post Sunday, 8th January 2012, 21:06

Re: Improving Xom!!!

Jiyva should be a starting god.

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Post Sunday, 8th January 2012, 21:12

Re: Improving Xom!!!

Rule 6. Proposed changes should be backed by reason.


Anyway, Jiyva will eat all (important, especially early on) loot, steal all your experience - with very little in return. He covers most amulet slots, but that isn't very useful early on, Slimify is strong all game, OK, Cure Bad Mutation is pretty bad if you don't even have any bad mutations that need to be cured (this is a major Jiyva reason) and mutations aren't too great either. You can count yourself lucky if you even make it to the Slime Pits, another Jiyva reason that isn't very good here. You'd switch when you reach the Slime Pits or when you get loads of bad mutations, not before.
He's about of the same use as old TSO, and at least old TSO didn't cripple your character in addition to being very weak early on. Xom has a similar problem of being suboptimal but he doesn't invariably cripple you, and is also a lot more interesting/varied than Jiyva, and can prove himself a lot more useful with a bit of luck.

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Post Sunday, 8th January 2012, 22:39

Re: Improving Xom!!!

greepish wrote:Give the ability to invoke a random tactical good power of Xom.


Being able to invoke Xom effects would go against the entire idea of Xom as capricious and acting entirely on whim -- if you want an ability to generate a random good effect, why not play Nemelex?

Perhaps Xom could get back some of the old mutation-god essence, with a preference for giving Evolution or really crazy Xom-only mutations.

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Post Sunday, 8th January 2012, 23:17

Re: Improving Xom!!!

nicolae wrote:
greepish wrote:Give the ability to invoke a random tactical good power of Xom.


Being able to invoke Xom effects would go against the entire idea of Xom as capricious and acting entirely on whim -- if you want an ability to generate a random good effect, why not play Nemelex?

Perhaps Xom could get back some of the old mutation-god essence, with a preference for giving Evolution or really crazy Xom-only mutations.


Well, xom doesn't need all three of the suggested things, any one would be good enough (although if only one then the lair one would have to be stronger). I just think invoke xom would be nice, since you actually can use powers when you need them. It wouldn't be quite like nemelex ( if you play him correctly anyways ;)), since when you're playing nemelex there really is no randomness: except for the freak chance of triple drawing (torment, torment, torment) you know exactly what's coming out, just not the degree. Invoke xom would be entirely random, just useful.

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Post Sunday, 8th January 2012, 23:32

Re: Improving Xom!!!

greepish wrote:I just think invoke xom would be nice, since you actually can use powers when you need them.


Predictability isn't really Xom's thing, though. Xom's benefits wouldn't be on-demand, the benefits would simply average out over time. The idea of Xom is that sometimes bad things happen and sometimes good things happen and if you can deal with the bad things then you get a bunch of good things, and the main complaint is that the good things are lousy and aren't worth the terrible bad things.

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Post Sunday, 8th January 2012, 23:50

Re: Improving Xom!!!

New Xom effect: Temporarily (100-1500 turns) replaces your current spell set with a completely random set. He also gives these spells a minimum chance of success, so you have at least a 100 - (spell_level * 10)% (for example purposes only; the actual formula may vary) chance of casting it.

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Post Monday, 9th January 2012, 02:19

Re: Improving Xom!!!

snow wrote:Jiyva should be a starting god.


Chances of the Jivya altar appearing before Slime:6 have been increased greatly in trunk.
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Post Tuesday, 10th January 2012, 13:41

Re: Improving Xom!!!

Xom is by far my favorite god in Crawl. Here are a few remarks about my experience with him.

After winning a few games with different species/backgrounds/gods combinations, I tend to find that all my crawl games tend to be the same and end up being pretty boring. Picking Xom right from the start is a good way to have fun and encounter something really unexpected several times in a game. In my opinion, he is clearly not a "strong" god but he is the one who makes the game the most enjoyable (I deeply think that losing is fun). You don't pick Xom to win the game, you pick him to have fun. In that perspective, scumming (e.g. fighting unarmed or wearing cursed gloves) does not make much sense right now : if you want to exploit the game, there are far better ways than playing with Xom, period. (This is how I feel Xom is right now, I'm not saying this is how he should be)


I strongly disagree with jpeg's assertion that Xom suffers from lack of replayability. In comparison to other gods, I think that Xom provides the most enjoyable and various deaths. In particular, the infamous instadeath "I surround you with 10 demons on D:3 and you're dead" happens rather rarely (though it does happen). On the other side, hilarious things happen frequently : getting mutated to herbivore while near starving and having 20 meat rations in the inventory, getting polymorphed into an ice beast in front of a dragon, getting polymorphed into a dragon in a spider's nest in order to make you too cocky, getting your strength nerfed hard while wearing a GDA against the lernaean hydra, "This might be better : The plant reforms as an oklob plant", etc. These deaths make you burst with laughter with Xom and make you want to replay the game. They also develop better skill ( always be prepared for the worse with Xom, for example potions of restore abilities are much more valuable with him as with the other gods)


There's another aspect of Xom that I think has not been mentionned much yet and should be emphasized : One of the really enjoyable things with him is that he rewards taking risks. In a normal game, quaff-iding potions in a dangerous battle, drinking mutation potions or fighting with a chaos brand is clearly suboptimal and has to be avoided, but Xom enjoys it and finds it amusing, making it a viable option in Xom games. I must say I've never source-dived to check whether Xom's amusement was really decisive (it looks like it isn't) but as a devoted Xomite, the idea of entertaining my god is a high enough reward for taking such risks.

In accordance to Crawl's game design goals, I think this behavior should be really emphasized, it removes no-brainers and differentiates the playstyle with Xom a lot.


Apart from that, I think most of the suggestions are good, in particular the unbanishment. I must add that of my numerous DSCK games, the thing that annoyed me the most (and mostly the only really annoying thing) was the level drain. Loosing three levels in a row at level 16 because of Xom's wrath is very very painful and makes you want to ragequit. In my best game so far with Xom, I even left him for a while out of rage because of that.

I also think that Xom's wrath should be changed. Right now, there's almost no sensible difference between his behaviour when you worship him and when you leave him...


I also had a few ideas of jokes Xom could use in future versions :

- At high tension, when you quaff a potion, Xom could have a small chance of swapping it with a random one. At zero tension, swapping cure mutation for mutation would also be funny.

- At high tension, give a temporary chaos brand to an unbranded wielded weapon.

- At high tension, small chance of pushing runes and Zot away (as with stairs)

- There could be a small chance of something happening (good or bad) when you or a creature walk on a tile with a Xom altar. This would add some tactical purpose to the random altars he puts everywhere on your path.

- A controversial one : Each altar (of other gods) could have a tiny chance of being a disguised Xom altar, which would only be revealed after converting inadvertently to Xom, and hence having to choose between his wrath and his weird mood.

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Post Wednesday, 11th January 2012, 00:51

Re: Improving Xom!!!

I too think Xom should be a high risk/reward god. I want the player to feel pressured, but rewarded all game.

Here are some ideas:

Xom spawns a VERY high tension monster but gives you a good mutation (Here's a D5 orc warlord and rF+ have fun mortal)

Xom should cast haste, slow, invis, halo, -tele, blink, silence aura, make loud noises, might, brilliance, Agility, tomb you with doors, alter your nutrition level, polymorph the monster, transmute the player, fog, flight, shroud, Ozocbu's Armor, create shallow water, torment the screen, etc. This should happen for most fights and affect monsters and players randomizing the difficulty and rewarding adaptive players. Even the most routine goblin can be interesting if it has a silence aura and you have to go poke it with a stick instead of pelting it with magic dart.

Xom can add a chaos brand to a plain wielded weapon. There are enough random altars scattered around that this can be a pray over altar ability and doesn't need to be limited to once per game like TSO holy.

Xom occasionally shuffles, but overall increases your stats causing you to adapt your playstyle. By the endgame this could potentially be a very powerful cumulative effect.

Xom casts you into the abyss at low level, but near the rune chamber. If you manage to live you have a rune already!

At a branch end xom can designate a champion monster. The rune is placed in a Hard Clear Rock wall until the monster is defeated. At that point the walls go away and all monsters on the level are pacified.

If you are boring, xom can put you in a special level with a monster. When the monster dies you are teleported back to the dungeon. Welcome to the Xom Dome, two enter one leaves!

Xom can put you in a single Zig style level with loot at the end. Scalable to level. Hope you were prepared for whatever themed monsters awaits you.

Xom can reward longstanding faith by giving acquirement every X turns on a gift timer. Still keep the annoyance gifts, but guarantee rewards for longstanding faith. Punishments for boring action can be harsh to balance this one to avoid grinding.

I also love the quest idea. Xom can give you random items or corpses to pray over for rewards. "slay me an ogre" "find me a sling bullet" " Pizza sounds delicious" quest can be tracked in the ^ screen and you finally have a use for the p key. Rewards could be a random xom action, this could trigger the acquirement, or even a good leaning mutation.

This is what I thought of in an hour. Throw enough stuff at the wall and maybe something will stick.

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Post Wednesday, 11th January 2012, 16:40

Re: Improving Xom!!!

I very do like the quest idea (I thought it weeks ago) being some sort of "gymkana": i.e. you have to accomplish a few goals in a certain amount of time with a punishment/reward outcome
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Post Wednesday, 11th January 2012, 17:59

Re: Xom!!!

jpeg wrote:Well, yeah, I am aware of the problem. If it helps any, I wasn't thinking of the really early game. My intention was mostly to give characters starting out with Xom a slight guaranteed advantage over those picking him at the Temple. Of course, you could still try to start-scum if it happened around XL 4 or 5. It's more of an add-on anyway, so I wouldn't be sad if that got left out. The other changes are more important.


Couldn't current depth be added as a factor (decreasingly negative factor till D13, 0 at D13, positive further down) for Xom decisions?
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Post Wednesday, 11th January 2012, 18:04

Re: Improving Xom!!!

Would Xom manipulating corpses be amusing? I think so.

Player is near starving and eats meat, and kills something. The corpse chunks instantly turn to rotten, or he casts that spell the elves have to create crawling bodies.
Or you're hungry and the corpse-dropping monster you are currently fighting is transformed into a monster that doesn't drop a corpse.

Or vice versa.

A random corpse you just created through killing is transformed into the corpse of a hide-dropping Dragon or Troll.

Cut into a corpse for chunks and instead of chunks, summon butterflies is cast.
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Post Wednesday, 11th January 2012, 18:49

Re: Improving Xom!!!

XuaXua wrote:Cut into a corpse for chunks and instead of chunks, summon butterflies is cast.

This is hysterical :lol:

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Post Wednesday, 11th January 2012, 21:58

Re: Improving Xom!!!

XuaXua wrote:Cut into a corpse for chunks and instead of chunks, summon butterflies is cast.

Worse, Simulacrum is cast on the chunks. Coin flip whether the simulacra are friendly or hostile.
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Post Wednesday, 11th January 2012, 22:04

Re: Improving Xom!!!

If you wield chunks, on wield, small chance Xom may or may not create simulacra or cast Sublimation of Blood.
There is a chance Xom may accidentally "miss" and cast Sublimation when chunks are unwielded or rot away while held. Xom, "Whoopsie!"
As noted, simulacra might not be friendly.
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Post Thursday, 12th January 2012, 00:08

Re: Improving Xom!!!

Xom should have you pull pranks on other gods somehow. Like, pretending to worship them for a bit before doing everything they hate.
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Post Thursday, 12th January 2012, 03:57

Re: Improving Xom!!!

One ability for Xom I was thinking of was summoning sheep that are on fire, confused, and enchanted with inner flame.

Also, how about shadow creatures instead of demons all the time. So many demons give the impression of an evil god.

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Post Thursday, 12th January 2012, 05:02

Re: Improving Xom!!!

Red Bucket wrote:One ability for Xom I was thinking of was summoning sheep that are on fire, confused, and enchanted with inner flame.


Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
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Post Thursday, 12th January 2012, 15:13

Re: Improving Xom!!!

Red Bucket wrote:Also, how about shadow creatures instead of demons all the time. So many demons give the impression of an evil god.


Or a depth-appropriate unique. Especially one you've seen, but left parked on another level. Xom doesn't want Mennas to get lonely, y'know?
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Post Thursday, 12th January 2012, 17:47

Re: Improving Xom!!!

How about a Xom vault full of hounds and felids that are all berserk?
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Post Thursday, 12th January 2012, 18:32

Re: Improving Xom!!!

BlackSheep wrote:How about a Xom vault full of hounds and felids that are all berserk?


And rain clouds.
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Post Thursday, 26th January 2012, 01:43

Re: Improving Xom!!!

IMO, problem with Xom, that good tactical effects is not somethimg really usefull ( If you enter any combat that require Xom's help, you'll be dead very, very fast) and there are too few strategical effects and it's not really fixable, because crawl has only 4 longterm benefits : mutations, skills, spells, equipment. 2 from 4 are cureently gifted, and gifting other two... It will just lead to frustration when you'll get several levels of axes whrn your are a long blades user or getting fireball as an ice elementalist
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Post Friday, 27th January 2012, 04:32

Re: Improving Xom!!!

Xom should keep his current speed of acting, but when acting he should perform a different act on every creature in los as well. Every action should roll taking his mood into effect, and his mood shouldn't change like it would upon acting until everything is affected. This would make Xom's actions way more significant, because if something bad happens to you, something bad will happen to every enemy as well. Maybe space every Xom interaction in this way by a turn, to make things cohesive.
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Post Friday, 27th January 2012, 07:16

Re: Improving Xom!!!

Everybody gets Beastly Appendage. Everyone. For a while.
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Post Friday, 27th January 2012, 15:49

Re: Improving Xom!!!

XuaXua wrote:Everybody gets Beastly Appendage. Everyone. For a while.

And when the kraken tentacles themselves get tentacles, do you get a fractal kraken?
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Post Friday, 27th January 2012, 17:41

Re: Improving Xom!!!

Stormfox wrote:
XuaXua wrote:Everybody gets Beastly Appendage. Everyone. For a while.

And when the kraken tentacles themselves get tentacles, do you get a fractal kraken?


Frakkin Kraken.
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Vestibule Violator

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Post Thursday, 23rd February 2012, 02:55

Re: Improving Xom!!!

Xom could change your race (skills would adjust as per new aptitudes), very rarely (perhaps rarer than banishment, or the same).
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 28th February 2012, 17:25

Re: Improving Xom!!!

After conquering the crypt as a teddybear of Xom and wielding Crazy Yiuf's stave while doing so, I fully believe the Chaos Brand and/or Xom should bring the undead back to life, fully healed, if this effect is not already done.
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Crypt Cleanser

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Post Tuesday, 28th February 2012, 18:56

Re: Improving Xom!!!

At high tension, Xom turns you into a berserk dragon, but also confuses you.
Xom should use the duplicate monster ability (this already exists as a chaos-brand effect, but it's very, very rare).
Shifter form: Every few turns Xom randomly gives you a different Transmutation form
Xom should support the use of polymorph other, and make it harder to resist, but also make it vary in HD also.
Xom can sometimes make so when a monster successfully mutates you, it also heals you like it does shapeshifters.

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Post Tuesday, 28th February 2012, 21:03

Re: Improving Xom!!!

Even when not playing Xom I like seeing the occasional Xom altar vault. What about a set of "Xom vaults" that are occasionally generated throughout the dungeon only when you worship Xom? Unusual features, uncommon monsters, dancing weapons, odd layouts, occasional nice loot (or annoyance loot?). Could be some work but I think there's a lot of potential for vaults that would be too "odd" or "unfair" to work in a normal game.

Statues replaced with Xom statues that cast summon butterflies, confusion, animate weapon, etc.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Wednesday, 29th February 2012, 16:42

Re: Improving Xom!!!

Related Dev Wiki page; suggest OP to update thread with this link.
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Dungeon Master

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Post Wednesday, 29th February 2012, 16:50

Re: Improving Xom!!!

XuaXua wrote:Related Dev Wiki page; suggest OP to update thread with this link.

Done.
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Post Wednesday, 25th April 2012, 16:12

Re: Improving Xom!!!

This is a huge, ambitious, and, as large as it is, very unpolished.

Gaming Xom is still possible, and I do not believe we will ever fix it. For example, never IDing your potions, knowing that when you're down to 11hp and you chug one of eight unidentified potions it is going to heal you and make xom interested. I have a completely different proposal for Xom that makes him an interactive God who can sometimes act when you use prayer. Perhaps Xom should be gamed, but not in the way of wearing cursed items to encourage annoyance gifts that are actually beneficial. My proposal is something not unlike a deckless Nemelex worshipper who pray to unlease divine acts. To accomplish this while keeping Nemelex unique, I changed the current Xom mood into my own proposal of 3 distinctive, unnamed moods - two of which are highly prayer dependant, one mood keeps Xom behaviour basics, but altered a bit. This is a big revision, so we'll talk about the moods first.


Xom has three basic moods.
Unlike the first mood, two of them involve heavily on the usage of pray, but in different fashions. The first mood still involves you, but you have no input to xom much like now. Your prayers are ignored by Xom during this time because he wants you to act, not communicate. There will also be a 1/1000 chance he will switch to another mood each turn. The second and third moods start with a certain amount of piety, and when piety hits zero, the next mood is picked randomly, weighted away from the current mood. If the mood stays the same, no message is given at all, and once the piety is randomly assigned, it is reduced by one third to expedite the changing of the mood. Lets talk about all three:

Mood 1
Piety starts at 100
Xom now loves tension, but hates players who only flee (kite tension) to proc Xom effects, which is very very easy to do. Each turn a players spends engaging in an underermined level of tension there is an undetermined but small chance Xom's piety will increase. Each turn they do not there another undetermined small chance to lose piety. Hitting 200 piety changes Xom to Mood 2; hitting 0 piety changes Xom to Mood 3. Each of Xom's acts have a split 100% chance (i.e. 37/63%) of increasing or decreasing piety, weighted towards whether the act was good or bad for the player. The player is meant to be in this mood 50-60% of the time while worshiping the God. When Xom acts in this mood, there is a small chance he acts on any number of creatures in LOS. Since the other two moods are focused on Xom interacting with the player on demand, Xom does not care to focus on anyone at all in particular. This is very important to keep in mind when reading the effects, because there are two styles for most acts that Xom makes in this mood.


Player involvement:

Since the other two moods are meant to be fact-paced, quickly changed, this mood is more static in nature and more resembles current Xom. Prayer does nothing - Xom ignores the player as he currently does.

Xom effects:
-Xom leaves los-blocking smoke trails on you. ALT: Xom leaves los-blocking smoke trails on a random number of creatures visible on the screen.
-Xom returns you to where you were exactly 2-5 turns ago, with the same health/mana you had at that time, but not effects (something I think would be very hard to code). ALT: Hom moves any number of random creatures visible on the screen to where they were 2-5 turns ago with the same health/mana they had at the time.
-Xom tombs (randomly 1-8 squares) you with doors. ALT: Xom tombs any number of creatures with doors.
-Xom gives you a friendly hound. ALT: Xom gives any number of visible creatures friendly hounds, and you instead gain a war hound if you are selected at all. Xom booms: Did you know I kept hounds? I keep (player species) as well!


Mood 2
Piety randomly set [1-50, weighted towards 50]
Prayer will become the primary motivator of Xom's acts based on tension in moods 2 & 3. The main way in which this mood differs is the similarity to how Xom acts to his toys currently. Usully Xom likes to protect his shiny toys and discard his old boring playthings, but poor eyesight has plagued the God and often has trouble distinguishing the two. In this mood, Xom will be more likely than not to give aid upon prayer that is beneficial.

Player involvement:
Xom does not want you to spam his beneficial prayer like a nemelex follower uses his cards, he will make clear his commands with warnings like Xom screams: I DEMAND ANSWERS NOW! BOW YOUR HEAD! / Xom whimpers: I'm lonely, will you pray with me? and when his abilities are used too frequently, Xom unleashes his inner anger: SILENCE! I WILL PUNISH YOUR PETTY WORDS OF PRAYER FOR NOW. Eventually he will engage the player to use prayer. Xom will keep his good effects and, upon using them, will depleat piety. The piety decrease depenant on the level of the act. Piety will decrease with long times absent of tension, and Xom will express his lack of patience with toys that don't entertain. This mood should be balanced to occupy roughly the same amount of turns as mood 3.


Xom effects:
- prayer -If you are fleeing in a cooridor, Xom can place a barrier (door, dangerous cloud, shalow water) with a high chance an every square between you and your pursuing enemy:
  Code:
xxxxxxxxxxxxx
...Y+~##@....
xxxxxxxxxxxxx

- prayer - Xom feeds, maxheals, and makes you fly.
- prayer - Xom turns up to ten random nearby tiles (depending on the percentage of tiles visible in your LOS) into up/down emergency staitcases, blood fountains, and Xom altars. Reduces a lot of piety. Can only happen during high tension.
- prayer - Xom turns you into a pig, but maxes out your base speed, gives haste, flying, immunity to fire, and leave fire clouds in your path while confusing enemies.
- prayer - A random enemy blows up via disintegration. Corpse chunks and blood are doubled.
- prayer - Every enemy blinks to the edge of LOS, weighted towards the opposite direction of the player's last movement turn.
- prayer - Xom berserks you, and gives you the cTele buff when exhaustion comes up, but does not teleport you.
- prayer - Xom turns you into a terrible monster, occupying two squares when others would only hold one! Movement similar to tentacle connections. The bonuses/negatives to this are things I can't wait to discuss with other people
  Code:
XXXXXX
X.....
X.XXXX
X.XX>X
X@.X.X
XX@.XX
XXXXXX

Movement in this form is a bit odd, because going up means orienting the 'tail' of the character. We are in the exact same form two turns later:

  Code:
XXXXXX
X.....
X.XXXX
X@XX>X
X.@X.X
XX..XX
XXXXXX
So, movement could be a bit odd, but I think it could be done. Xom temporarily turns you into a freak with a huge backside you drag around and holds a copy of your weapon

I do know it is possible to have multiple-character creatures in the game, and this Xom temporary mutation is no different. The ease of multiple-character species attacking and casting spells is where I have trouble with this concept. Let me try to exlain:

  Code:
XXXXXX
X.....
X.XXXX
X@XX>X
Xo@X.X
XXo.XX
XXXXXX

Lets say I now want to kill those two orc warriors below me. I press j. Does my right half attack or only my left side? This is where the problems start for me, and I have not been able to surmound this issue. I just don't know enough about game design. I get upset that I can't fully develop this idea and hope if any ideas of mine go, this is my personal favorite. The idea is that you should be able to attack anything you want - you are a monstrosity and have huge reach where weapons are concerned. I welcome discussion about this and every other proposal in this thread, and have lots of other ideas about this monstrosity thing.

I want to be in a situation like this:
  Code:
X.XX.XX
XaXXNXX
X@XX.XX
XX@.XXX
XXXXXXX


I am fighting a soldier and with a trident, and a Naga is just out of sight of my other half. Next turn:

  Code:
X.XX.XX
XaXX.XX
X@XXNXX
XX@.XXX
XXXXXXX


The front half of me is fighting the ant, and using single symbol species as an example, would not be able to see the naga. Nonetheless, my back side sees the naga, he's close! He's even in, say, trident melee range. Now, am I able to hit the naga with the trident and really take this 'one big monster' character type seriously? Absolutely! Someone in the spider thread is developing a 9 symbol character, 3X3!! There are all sorts of fun things that could be done with Xom forms when that spider monster code is in the game.



Mood 3
Piety randomly set [1-50, weighted towards 50]
This is the angry Xom previously playthings worshipped. Xom loves when there is high tension, and the acts range from small to affecting every character in LOS. Like the second mood these acts can be prayer induced, but Xom is in a bad mood, and very willing to do as many bad things to you as you want him to do to your enemies.

Player involvement:
Xom wants to have toys, not broken playthings. They player must fight without being able to trust Xom for help while they're taunted to: Xom says: Go ahead now, come on, pray to me! Let's be allies! Not ever praying hoping the piety will decrease on it's own will not work - the piety will increaseafter long periods of no tension, including resting. Broken toys that need to recover are toys that just might need to go, and Xom can hit you the worst here. It would be ill-advised to pray alone or around trivial creatures hoping to drop the piety enough to be saved and blessed as a toy once again - piety drops are cut by 90% rounded down when the player is alone, but Xom still punishes as much as well as teleports you without cTele and reads a scroll of noise. The player should want to get to 0 piety and switch moods ASAP before he is mutated or dead.

Xom effects:
-If your tension is rapidly dropping (by escaping, not killing enemies - losing them around corners) Xom can move, blink, and teleport staircases.
-Xom can close a corridor you are fleeing by placing doors in every remaining cooridor space unti it opens:
  Code:
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx+++..
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx+xx..
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx+xx..
23cc@'++++++++++++++xx..
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

You open the door.
You hear Xom's maniacal laughter!

- prayer - Xom throws eight of your potions (any combination) in each direction. Only during heavy tension.
-If you are eating out of combat, xom has a 20% chance of instead reducing your nutrition level by 50% of what you would have gained. He can put you no further than one food unit into starvation by doing this. Additionally, you will be inflicted with an unresistable poison or sickness (this includes species that cannot get poisoned or become sick). This should only reduce something small like 1 piety
-If you are attempting to pick up an identified potion during tension, it will move away from you. This will not reduce piety.
- prayer - Xom confuses everyone but paralyses you, allowing you to move again when the first enemy's confusion fades.
- prayer - Xom summons an appropriately scaled demon who is friendly for five turns, then turns hostile.
- prayer - Xom has a very low chance to give you statrot or rotting while in tension, but a medium chance to give either statrot, rotting, ot a totally random mutation if the prayer is outside of tension. This is to reduce out of tension praying to change Xom's moods, as none of these divine effects are preventable except species immunity. Reduces a lot of piety.
- prayer - Xom turns your current health and mana to 50% MaxHP/MP, nutrition level to satiated. Could be a benefit or a loss. "Xom chuckles: HERE IS YOUR GLASS OF WATER. I PREPARED IT JUST HOW I LIKE IT!"
-Throwing weapons and fired ammunition have a 10% chance to return under this mood, but they do guaranteed damage to you as well on the return. This reduces something small like 1 piety.



I'm going to be looking at more of the current Xom effects and incorporating them into this design proposal, mostly amond the first mood. But before I do that, I want to head some feedback on how good/terrible this three-mood + prayer system is. I am no coder (I got a cisco network certification in high school a decade ago, and today could not configure a router to save my life) so any numbers/equations are placeholders and are not to be taken seriously. I really love worshiping under Xom and have loved the revisions so far. Thanks in advance for feedback!
seattle washington. friends for life. mods hate on me and devs ignore my posts. creater of exoelfs and dc:pt

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Pandemonium Purger

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Post Thursday, 26th April 2012, 16:07

Re: Improving Xom!!!

Should that have been a new thread? I didn't realize how old this thread was.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 26th April 2012, 16:54

Re: Improving Xom!!!

It's good here.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 27th April 2012, 01:54

Re: Improving Xom!!!

New Xom (play trunk) is much more fun, though he probably goes a bit too crazy in tension.

Gaming Xom is still possible, and I do not believe we will ever fix it. For example, never IDing your potions, knowing that when you're down to 11hp and you chug one of eight unidentified potions it is going to heal you and make xom interested.... Perhaps Xom should be gamed, but not in the way of wearing cursed items to encourage annoyance gifts that are actually beneficial.

Neither of these is problematic at all. Annoyance gifts are gone entirely, and I don't see the problem with being able to up-to-twice-per-game (!curing and !hw) getting a basically-not-noticeable boost to Xom's opinion of you by quaffing a soft-ID'd potion mid-battle ... which is the only time you would use those potions anyway, and since you already know what they are there's no reason to use ?ID anyway.

You can sort-of game Xom now by fleeing high-tension situations when he's in a bad mood and not fleeing them when he's in a good mood, but this kind of ends up happening naturally because badXom in high tension tends to make the situation go really bad quickly, and goodXom in high tension is generally not a bad thing (and often helpful), so I don't see it as a problem.

I didn't really read the rest of the proposal because it's too long.
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