Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.


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Spider Stomper

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Post Wednesday, 19th January 2011, 21:55

Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

This is going to be a very broad topic. I will first give my reasons for requesting the new feature, then give a basic outline of how to implement the feature, then ask for suggestions on how to fleshout/expand the feature.

The main reason for the request is that I feel non-casting play should be more interesting. At this time it is just hit arrow key, hit arrow key, hit arrow key... In addition this new mechanic can be used to fill several holes that exist in non-casting play, and can be used to balance some skills by making higher levels viable.

Making non-casting play more interesting: I have read the proposal on the wiki, and one of the things it stresses is that special attacks should be automatic. This is simply a mistake. Random occurrences do not improve the game experience. More opportunities to make meaningful decisions improves game experience. Any addition should give the player the control over when things happen otherwise it is just a waste of time.

Filling holes in non-casting playstyles: Currently non-casters have no consistent, persistent form of escape. Crawl more then any other roguelike is about escaping from danger. The fact that you need to become a spellcaster to get persistent froms of escape is a problem. Casting spells should not be mandatory for optimal play. Neither should non-casters be at the mercy of the RNG to find a persistent form of escape. Non-casters also have a complete lack of ways to deal with mobs. This does not really make them less powerful, but it does make them considerably more tedious to play. Some form of "mass" damage for martial characters should be achievable.

Balancing: Some skills just don't do enough to justify spending experience on them in latter levels. Adding abilities that are only unlocked at higher levels and tying abilities to skill level will give incentives for players to advance weapon skills past the "max speed" breakpoint.


The Basic System:
As characters advance in the weapon skills they "unlock" certain abilities. These abilities are accessible through the "a" menu. Using these abilities causes the character to gain a temporary status (lets say they lose their balance). Characters can only use these abilities when they have their balance. So for example lets say that one of the abilities is charge. Charge lets you take some number of free moves (based on skill level) followed by melee attack. The character would activate the ability using the "a" key. It would give the player a targeting interface. And then carry out the action. The character would become unbalanced, but other then that would be able to continue on as normal until he regained his balance after a random period. There would be basic skills that are shared by most/all of the weapon skills along with some skills that are unique to individual weapon skills. Some of the general skills could also be unlocked at differing levels depending on which skill is being advanced. In other words "power attack" might become available at level 5 for maces, level 10 for axes, level 15 for long blades, etc, etc.

Some ideas for abilities:
Charge: see above
Power attack: Deal extra damage. Possible to hit penalty.
Cleave: Attack multiple adjacent targets.
Hobble: Slow target temporarily.
Swap: Switch positions with target.

There are for too many for me to give a comprehensive list, but this hopefully will get the ball rolling.
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Dungeon Master

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Post Wednesday, 19th January 2011, 22:41

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

You have made a good point about non-automatic abilities creating interesting choices. I also find pure melee a bit boring compared to spellcasters and hybrids. The global cooldown timer can also be a nice way to balance it. We can also mix it up and have both automatic and manual abilities. Charge for example should be automatic. Run up to a monster and hit it. If you have enough strength/skills compared to its weight, you knock it back and deal extra damage.
For reference, here is the wiki page about this.
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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 02:02

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I've always thought that a variation on the charge would be quite interesting ... It would work like this: It would blink you right next to the monster and attack (possibly with bonus damage) all in 1 turn. World of warcraft has this ability for its main tanks.

It might be highly overpowered though ... But how nice wouldn't it be to use that against a yaktaur captain with your troll berserker?? :)
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Slime Squisher

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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 02:29

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

All those moves and attacks, would they be performed only by the player?
Would uniques and monsters be able to do them as well? Sounds only fair.
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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 02:37

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

crawl isn't known for its player/monster symmetry.
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Slime Squisher

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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 02:46

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Regarding combat, it seems to me it is.

Each unique has the same properties you do (HP, Attack, EV, AC, speed, resistances)
If you introduce a new aspect of melee or ranged combat, it is only fair to let at least some uniques have access to it as well.
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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 02:54

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

monsters differ vastly from players, even in the aspects you listed.

perhaps a unique could get it though, sure
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Slime Squisher

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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 03:01

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

What if those abilities are given to you by worshiping a god? Is this a bad idea?

Let's say the god of Martial Arts. He could grant you abilities like these, increasing in power.
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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 03:35

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

not necessarily, but I think the idea here is to make melee universally more interesting, not to tie it to a god

though really, if you want to use a god for it, just rewrite okawaru

Spider Stomper

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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 04:39

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Giving it to a god does not allow you to fix the imbalance issues. You need ways to make short blades mean something after level 12.

Snake Sneak

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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 05:43

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I pretty much only play melee characters, so this topic is important to me. As much as I would like to see more variation in tactics, however, 'special' attacks always seem hokey. Like... after 15 skill levels, your character suddenly learns to swing really, really, hard? It just rings false.

If there are going to be alternate attacks, they should be just that--alternatives to your normal attack. They shouldn't be better, just different--the only thing they should cost is a turn (the main drawback being that you don't get to do a normal attack, which imo should remain the main damage dealer). Some examples:

Kick - uses Fighting/Unarmed Combat or both. Knocks an enemy (and possibly one or two enemies behind him) backward one tile. You move one tile in that direction as well, so you can't kick, wait, attack, and repeat. Could be used for securing a spot at the end of a hallway or for knocking enemies into lava or deep water.

Shield Bash - uses Shields. Stuns an enemy for one turn, giving you a chance to run or to stab. I think this would make Short Blades a little more attractive.

Reaching - uses Polearms. I think this is in the devlog already. No special brand, all polearms can be evoked to reach.

Of course the best way to make melee interesting is to make it like Dwarf Fortress adventurer mode.

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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 10:54

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I don't like 'a'-activatable abilities for melee moves. Instead, the moves should trigger according to your positioning. Then the "button-pressing" to activate the move is actually done inside the game world. The "automatic" charge is my favourite. Another idea of such a move: managing to run in circles around your enemy. The move could trigger after completing such a circle, or you could get improved EV and land hits while you move while you're circling the enemy.

Also if the passive moves are different for different weapon types, then there is a choice involved. It's just a strategic one, not tactical.

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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 11:17

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

evktalo wrote:I don't like 'a'-activatable abilities for melee moves. Instead, the moves should trigger according to your positioning. Then the "button-pressing" to activate the move is actually done inside the game world. The "automatic" charge is my favourite. Another idea of such a move: managing to run in circles around your enemy. The move could trigger after completing such a circle, or you could get improved EV and land hits while you move while you're circling the enemy.

I totally agree with this. I understand where players who want activated melee abilities are coming from, but that's just it: Some players prefer playing spellcasters because they like the wider range of options, while others play fighters for their relative simplicity. For another group, it will depend on their mood which playing style they prefer. The goal is to make both playing styles interesting, but absolutely not by making them similar.

Actually, the exact same range of preferences applies to gods. Some players complain about gods that are (what they feel is too) complicated with many different abilities and complex conducts. Other players will complain about gods that are relatively (to them, too much so) straightforward. In truth, we need to cater to both groups and offer interesting choices for both playing styles.

For the record, I'll pick Berserkers over Elementalists any day, and prefer Sif Muna to Nemelex. Activated melee abilities would make me very unhappy.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 12:08

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I feel the opposite. Abilities are fun to actively use. A non-caster in the current game clears the entire game using the arrow keys for nearly every important task. Mindlessly mashing the arrow keys is tedious, which is the entire reason we have the 'o' button for autoexplore. Random bonus damage or critical hits that pop up without any effort or conscious decision on my part won't really help -- I'll just mentally adjust my expectation of damage output to accommodate for the increase.

Berserkers already have martial maneuvers. Berserk is activated from the 'a' menu, and it presents the player with a meaningful choice. It's valuable to use, but you also can't just mindlessly spam it because of the hunger cost and the post-berserk exhaustion. Later berserker abilities are likewise meaningful choices that you want to activate at just the right time. Choosing right is satisfying because you have real control over your success. Berserkers might not have the breadth of tactical options that are available to a wizard, but it really isn't necessary to go that far.

Spider Stomper

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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 13:18

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

One thing these maneuvers should not be is just damage bonuses. Charge should not just be an automatic damage bonus at the end of a move. That is boring and mostly pointless. Making charge some number of free moves makes it far more tactical. Simply making them damage bonuses removes any form of decision making. Why worry about when you use them if all they do is more damage? More damage now or more damage next turn what is the difference. If you have the choice between closing fast this turn, or cutting down 3 grunts next turn, or making a really big hit on the boss the next turn, or possibly even slow that big boss a few turns from now so you can get away because you are in over your head, then you have real decisions to make.

Not allowing these abilities to be activated severely limits the options of what can be created. It just won't be worth the effort of doing it with such limits. If you don't want to worry about all the decisions then just keep hitting the arrow keys over and over. After all they will still work the same way they always did even with these new activated abilities.
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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 16:33

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I'm not sure making the abilities automatic would simplify them. An "a"bility can be set to a macro, a move such as moving in circles around an enemy cannot. However, either way could work I think

I agree with acvar that they should not be simple damage bonuses. I'd be more interested in some of these:
- shove - something like "trample" - for large or very strong or very dexterous characters only. Pretty handy near lava...
- a defensive stance. This could be automatic and as simple as "resting" while in melee range. Since you are not attacking, you naturally focus on using your dodging, shield or armour more effectively and you get some defensive bonus (similarly, there could be a defensive penalty while running away? Not likely to be popular...)
- trip. the monster becomes semi-paralyzed for a turn, creating an opportunity for a stab or to make an escape
- jump. requires a delay (winding up for the jump) but then allows you to jump through a square at double speed. some hunger cost and chance of cramp. Also a chance of not quite making it (so don't try to cross deep water with it), but also a chance of making it through / over a trap without triggering it.
- wait for opportunity - you take a more watchful stance, and there's a chance of the monster being vulnerable to something random (getting hit, getting stabbed, getting tripped, getting shoved) and the player acts instantly when they see the chance (you don't get to decide if you take the opportunity), and performs the random action with some bonus.

I think the best way to give these would be with increasing levels of fighting skill or unarmed combat skill.

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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 18:06

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I like what danr has suggested. Those sorts of abilities can be calibrated against their targets attributes (size, speed, etc.): i.e, not possible to trip a ooze, difficult to shove a ettin, but easy to shove a ooze and easier to trip an ettin. Effects could vary also: tripping a giant might semi-stun him for longer than tripping a orc.

Another possibility is to invent a Movement skill and tie those sorts of abilities to it similar to spells. This would provide a whole new dimension for backgrounds and species differentiation.

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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 20:42

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I think those who are worried about obtrusiveness are exagerating it. At least if special moves are tied to weapons, then each weapon (or weapon type) would most likely get 2 or 3 moves. Hardly comparable to a pure spellcaster's 15 or so spells by the endgame, or to a nemelexite's need to juggle sacrifices, identify decks, stack them as needed, etc.
Then again since I can't understand what drives people to melee characters, a couple special moves wouldn't probably be enough to make that playstyle appealing to me. Whenever I try to play a berserker (who at least gets a couple more options right from the start compared to a fighter), the only thing keeping my interest up is the anticipation of Trog's gifts. Once he gives me a good enough weapon that I know I'll stick with it for most of the game, I lose interest and quit the character.
Last edited by asdu on Thursday, 20th January 2011, 20:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 20:42

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

How about instead of an 'a'ctivated ability, context-dependent abilities that trigger upon holding ctrl and attacking. This would limit you to one per "context", but that doesn't seem so bad to me.

For example: You spent the last 3 turns moving toward an enemy, and now you're next to it. You can hit it normally, or you can hold ctrl and hit it to use your 'charge' ability. This does no damage, but <whatever charge does> instead.

Or, you just blocked an attack, so now you can hit the target normally, or hold ctrl and hit it to use your 'shield bash' ability. And so on.

This would probably require some UI element to show you what special ability is currently available to you, but that could be as easy as a word appearing in your status effects list.

This would also have the indirect effect of buffing monster invisibility, because we'd probably want a swing at empty air to still do your normal checking-for-invisible-monster attack, but that isn't necessarily a problem.

An optional tweak to this could be that even in the correct contexts, the abilities only 'proc' some of the time, dependent on stats, weapon skill, or anything else the devs want to make more relevant.
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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 20:50

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Danei wrote:How about instead of an 'a'ctivated ability, context-dependent abilities that trigger upon holding ctrl and attacking. This would limit you to one per "context", but that doesn't seem so bad to me.

For example: You spent the last 3 turns moving toward an enemy, and now you're next to it. You can hit it normally, or you can hold ctrl and hit it to use your 'charge' ability. This does no damage, but <whatever charge does> instead.

That is exactly what is being planned, except that the special effect would happen automatically if the movement requirements have been met, but can be overridden by Ctrl-dir if undesired, so you don't accidentally cleave a jelly into two, for example.

Again, see the wiki.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 21:00

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

jpeg wrote:
Danei wrote:How about instead of an 'a'ctivated ability, context-dependent abilities that trigger upon holding ctrl and attacking. This would limit you to one per "context", but that doesn't seem so bad to me.

For example: You spent the last 3 turns moving toward an enemy, and now you're next to it. You can hit it normally, or you can hold ctrl and hit it to use your 'charge' ability. This does no damage, but <whatever charge does> instead.

That is exactly what is being planned, except that the special effect would happen automatically if the movement requirements have been met, but can be overridden by Ctrl-dir if undesired, so you don't accidentally cleave a jelly into two, for example.

Again, see the wiki.


Oh yeah. I forgot about that. I even posted on that wiki page.
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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 21:05

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Perhaps, since this issue is already on the wiki, I should lock the topic and direct people there?

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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 21:18

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Well let met get the ball rolling. I will try to tackle the hardest of the skills short blades. I will base the abilities off of a nimble footed swashbuckler.

1. Charge - Player gets up to 3 free moves (dependent on skill level) followed by an attack.
2. Side step - Player gets a free move to an open square adjacent to the creature he attacked.
3. Hobble - Temporarily slows target if damage is successfully dealt.
4. Swap - Character attacks and switches places with up to 3 targets (dependent on skill level).
5. Artful dodger - Character gains the artful dodger status for a duration. While under this status any attack successfully dodged has a chance of randomly hitting an enemy adjacent to the player.
6. Back flip - Short range (<=3) semi-controlled blink.

Those seem to be in the right order power wise, but I am unsure exactly at what levels they should be gained. I think if you can get a semi-controlled blink it is well worth it to put a little more experience into short blades. I don't think the other weapon skills necessarily need as many skills as short blades. Anybody want to take a shot at another skill?

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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 23:34

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I still like that idea (it's somewhere on the wiki) of merging short blades and stabbing skills.
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Post Thursday, 20th January 2011, 23:53

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I think if you're looking at passive abilities "critical hits" might be worth looking at. Each weapon type could have different effects. For example short blades could "find a chink in its armor!" and bypass any AC. Maces could have a stunning blow that paralyzes enemies for a turn or two, axes or long blades could produce a damage over time bleed effect or sever a tendon for a slow effect etc. This could also be a incentive to train weapon skills past speed break points, as the chances for a critical could be heavily dependent on weapon skill level. This could also serve as a way to make certain weapon types (short blades) more viable in late game.

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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 00:17

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

short blades are crazy enough with stabbing
if you want plainboring universal appeal, crosstrain over to long blades

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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 00:57

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I sincerely doubt that any person remotely willing to attempt Roguelike play is going to be put off by the berserker's small handful of activated abilities, and it isn't like the melee styles need more abilities than that. Catering to players who are THAT casual is not only probably an impossible task, it also defeats the essential charm of the gaming genre. Do we really need to give melee a straight damage buff, and if we do, wouldn't it be easier and more transparent to just give them a direct buff rather than adding a whole subsystem of randomly activated critical hits?

Non-activated abilities are painfully spoiler-reliant. An unspoiled player has no meaningful feedback as to what is necessary to cause a non-activated ability to trigger, and may not even recognize that anything special is even happening. Even if CHARGE pops up on the status line, it is entirely unreasonable to expect a player to connect this status to a whole sequence of moves that have already passed and have already been mentally discarded. Even if the player is inclined to speculate and try to solve this mysterious status, the only data they have is that sometimes they deal lots of damage after this status flashes and sometimes they don't. Is their runed weapon electric somehow? Or is it a charged spinning attack like a Zelda game, and how did they do it anyway? Or is it actually a monster attack charging, and they interrupted it, or not?

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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 02:13

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

minmay wrote:
asdu wrote:I think those who are worried about obtrusiveness are exagerating it. At least if special moves are tied to weapons, then each weapon (or weapon type) would most likely get 2 or 3 moves. Hardly comparable to a pure spellcaster's 15 or so spells by the endgame, or to a nemelexite's need to juggle sacrifices, identify decks, stack them as needed, etc.

The problem is, some people don't like playing pure spellcasters. They like playing pure melee characters. Trying to make melee characters more "interesting" by giving them fancy spell-like moves is missing the point. If it's tedious to cast Magic Dart at every monster that shows up, it's tedious to use Power Attack against every monster that shows up. Plus, we already have a buttload of "moves," they're just called invocations.


1. You wont be power attacking left and right. There will be a cool down time (3-5 turns) between each action.
2. If 4-6 maneuvers is too taxing for some people there is nothing forcing them to use them. You can still play the game just hitting the arrow key if you want to.
3. Invocations can never solve the fact that weapon skills become pointless to advance past a certain level.

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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 02:53

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Abilities aren't necessarily tedious. You could say anything is tedious. You could say the whole game is tedious if all you do is click the arrows repeatedly until something dies. It doesn't mean it's tedious for every player. Selling at shops is different because it actually affects the economy of the game, which is important. Whether or not the individual player can't be bothered to macro or even think about the possibilities of using given abilities isn't really a widespread thing the devs can take into account. Back on the rec.games.roguelike forums a while ago there was a guy complaining that, in order to sacrifice bodies to his god, he has to hit 'p', and why couldn't they just be autosacrificed, or something along those lines.

If the odd player wants to make a fuss about having to do things often, things which amount in essence to just -playing the game-, then I think that's something the player can deal with or work around instead of forcing it upon others who have no such squabbles.

So, I guess what I'm saying is I like the idea of abilities.

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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 02:57

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

1. There is a whole world of difference between using an ability maybe once per monster and zotting magic dart half a dozen times to kill a target.

2. Using consumables can be tedious. Remembering inventory slots. Creating stashes. A ton of different commands, yet completely mandatory for optimal play. Guess we should get rid of them too.

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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 03:31

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

A cooldown delay alone probably isn't enough to make for an interesting choice, I'll grant that much. For your +damage -accuracy Power Attack example, it might be suitable if the +damage -accuracy spiked when you used it, and slowly tapered off until you were back to the baseline. You'll want to do it as often as possible against a no-EV bruiser, but you also don't want to be swinging wildly when the swarm of bees comes around the corner.

Perhaps the hypothetical power attack power would function best as a toggle -- basically similar to ADOM's combat modes. A lazy player could switch into a defensive or baseline stance and leave it there the entire game, but a cannier player would switch situationally depending on the threat at hand. Wielding a weapon with higher skill could either upgrade the stances you have, or it could open up weapon-specific styles depending on what's interesting.

Polearm reach is, I would argue, the ideal for how a single-shot activated weapon ability should work. It takes some effort to set up the position to make using it worthwhile, and you don't want to be using it on caster enemies instead of getting all up in their faces, but it's rewarding when you do manage to arrange a chance to fire it off.

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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 04:03

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I don't think it's necessary to include a cost, just don't include boring moves like "Power Attack". I don't think any move should replace your normal melee attack as the highest damage dealer.

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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 11:11

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

seth wrote:I don't think it's necessary to include a cost, just don't include boring moves like "Power Attack". I don't think any move should replace your normal melee attack as the highest damage dealer.

Absolutely.

The plan is to make melee more interesting by rewarding positioning. Currently, it is pretty simply: fight in corridors as much as possible. Sure, there are some monsters which are designed to break that routine (orc priests, slime creatures), but it'd be very nice if the player had some incentive to sometimes go for other approaches actively. This leads to ideas like dexterous (or high EV) characters being better off by dancing around monsters (not possible in corridors), or axe fighters losing their special attack when fighting in corridors.
Of course it is possible to add flavourful, balanced melee moves as active powers. Berserk is a good example. However, berserk couldn't possibly be passive, as it has a number of downsides (post rage paralysis, slow down, food cost, inability to use certain abilities when berserk). If you come up with special attacks like these, they're fine as moves. (It's not so easy, but we're always listening.) But there's definitely also room for the implicit approach, outlined on the wiki page cited twice.

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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 11:47

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Berserk -is- a passive, though, if you have berserkitis. =D

But srsly yeah it shouldn't be passive.
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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 15:14

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

about the passive vs active abilities controversy: why not use it to differentiate weapons so they actually play differently?

  • Maces & Flails: no perks (boost damage to compensate)
  • Axes: 1 or 2 passive abilities (cleave)
  • Polearms & staves get some active abilities (and possibly also passive ones). Maybe focus polearms on defense and staves on disabling the enemy.
  • Long blades: most elaborate, with a mix of passive and active abilities.
  • short blades: already have stabbing.

That way, we can keep a straightforward gameplay for newbies/casual/jpeg with M&F and axes, and also have a more varied and tactical gameplay with the other weapons.
Also, active abilities don't have to be (a)bilities. One can be activated with ctrl-dir, and maybe another one with alt-dir.
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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 15:37

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I'm leaning toward "passive" abilities.

I agree with the tedium of there being a certain move that you would repeat every 5 attacks or whatever. It would be so formulaic that I'd wonder why they don't just add the appropriate average bit of damage to each attack and save me the trouble of using different keystrokes for each attack.

It would be interesting however if certain special attacks just happened randomly (frequency tied to fighting / weapon / unarmed skills) where the monster would suddenly be tripped, stunned, pushed back, or something like that. These moments then create surprise options for the character: use the chance to get away, quaff a potion, switch weapons, or go for a stab.
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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 16:02

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

KoboldLord wrote:Non-activated abilities are painfully spoiler-reliant. An unspoiled player has no meaningful feedback as to what is necessary to cause a non-activated ability to trigger, and may not even recognize that anything special is even happening. Even if CHARGE pops up on the status line, it is entirely unreasonable to expect a player to connect this status to a whole sequence of moves that have already passed and have already been mentally discarded. Even if the player is inclined to speculate and try to solve this mysterious status, the only data they have is that sometimes they deal lots of damage after this status flashes and sometimes they don't. Is their runed weapon electric somehow? Or is it a charged spinning attack like a Zelda game, and how did they do it anyway? Or is it actually a monster attack charging, and they interrupted it, or not?


They could always RTFM. Presumably if those sorts of abilities are added, they'll be in the documentation. They could sit there and try to figure out what this mysterious status means, or they could look at the fighting section of the manual, or the in-game description of their weapon, or wherever the powers that be decide to put the info, where it will presumably state in plain English what the 'charge' status does and in what situations it applies to the player.
The way it works is not really a spoiler any more than it's a spoiler that fizzling spells cause glow; it's in the manual, but if you don't read the manual it might take a while to figure out why you're glowing sometimes.

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evktalo

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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 19:17

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

First off, I really like this thread. There are a lot of differing opinions, but the discussion is quite civil. I love reading stuff like this.

Like I said, I prefer the passive abilities. I like that it is ambitious to try to introduce meaningful moves in such a way. It's not seen often at least in turn-based games. Those who don't like the idea shouldn't think it's going to be about hitting arrow keys mindlessly, I think we all agree that is something we want to avoid. We want mindful arrow key hitting. ;) For example, Charging would not be mindless (at least not in all and I hope most situations): you get extra damage by moving towards your enemy for three rounds in succession, but random monster movement might screw you up and the monster would get a free hit (or, you might decide to cancel the charge by taking a step backwards, hoping they'd lose a random movement). Blinking monsters are hard to charge at. While you charge at something, other monsters could suddenly enter your view, and you'd have to change plans. The change of plans would happen in the *middle* of the move you're executing *yourself* by your arrow strokes - I just find this a very interesting approach.

Also, let's not assume that activatable 'a'bilities would automatically be something you want to tediously use every 3-5 turns either - we'd obviously want to avoid that too, so we'd need to come up with things that don't degenerate into that. Berserk is a great example of a great activatable "special move". (One thought I had was that the moves could all use the "Fatigued" status that prevents re-berserking, to give them a common "resource".)

galehar's idea about differentiating the weapon types is a great one too. Now, I'm still thinking we should go positioning/movement dependent (plus passive) melee stuff. But I'll mention that there's no reason that 'a'ctivatable abilities can't work with positioning as well. For instance, in Disgaea (a Japanese tactical rpg) the special martial moves are much like spells (costing sp and all), but most have a "reach" from your position, instead of a range within which to target. Such as:

  Code:
@ = your position
You're targeting right here.
X needs to be unoccupied.
x = squares that you hit with your move
Y is where you'll end up and it needs to be unoccupied

......
X@xxxY
......


Something like that might work within Crawl as well.

I like the "defensive stance" idea, because it's exactly the kind of "movement" dependent natural "special moves" that I'd love to see. Also the "sidestep" idea from acvar's list could work as a "natural" movement, in a slightly different way: you sometimes get interface-highlighted "opportunities" to do such a move. If you got such an opportunity when attacking a monster, a square next to the monster would be specially highlighted. Other moves could be taught by the interface, mentioned in the 'A' list, even taught by tutorials as necessary - I don't think it's as big a problem as KoboldLord suggests.

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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 20:30

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Keep in mind that these attacks are going to be taking a full 10 clicks. That can be a really big deal if your normal attack speed is only 3 (quick blade). With that consideration I don't see a single power in my set of short blade specials that you would want to do at every opportunity.

Power attack can do extra damage but it will have an opportunity cost, will be less likely to hit, and will in most situations take longer then a normal attack. Its main bonus would be that it helps you cut through high armor or lets you finish off an opponent now instead of 2 swings from now giving them one less attack against you. If any power is a no brainer use it every opportunity you have then it needs to be removed/reworked, but don't discount the entire system because some suggestions for it are overpowered. Your basic attack should still be your bread and butter attack.

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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 22:02

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

"a full 10 clicks"? What of even slower weapons (without the skill to lower them to 10, of course)?

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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 22:07

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

galehar wrote:about the passive vs active abilities controversy: why not use it to differentiate weapons so they actually play differently?

  • Maces & Flails: no perks (boost damage to compensate)


A flat damage boost is a bit uninteresting. How about some sort of AC-bypassing feature? Historically, bludgeoning weapons like maces were used because they were useful against armour (which was good at stopping things like swords and arrows, but not so effective against blunt force).

Giving maces a bonus vs AC would work a bit like a damage boost, but with a more pronounced effect against high AC enemies. This would be somewhat interesting, I think.

Actually, on second thought, this wouldn't make much sense for whips. It makes sense for everything else in that category though.
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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 22:45

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I think we should start with a few passive abilities not specific to a weapon type: charge and zig-zag.

Charge is obvious and can be implemented as described by Evktalo. It should give you the exhaust status for 3-5 turns so you can't berserk right away. The damage bonus depends on strength and size (2 things that don't have enough effect in the game). That should be enough for a start. We'll probably want to add a knockback effect later. I don't think any skill should be involved here.

Zig-zag (needs better name) is as you can imagine to evade projectiles. If a monster fires at you and your last step was at an angle from the missile trajectory, you get an evasion bonus. The bonus depends on the angle, dex and AEVP. Encourages the player to make zig-zag steps for engaging (or fleeing from) a monster with a ranged attack.

What is nice is that these 2 abilities can be coded in a similar way: we just have to keep track of the last few steps of the player. And they can help balance recent changes too ;)
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Post Friday, 21st January 2011, 23:51

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

evktalo wrote:X needs to be unoccupied.

Why?
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Post Saturday, 22nd January 2011, 00:18

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

galehar wrote:I think we should start with a few passive abilities not specific to a weapon type: charge and zig-zag.

Charge is obvious and can be implemented as described by Evktalo. It should give you the exhaust status for 3-5 turns so you can't berserk right away. The damage bonus depends on strength and size (2 things that don't have enough effect in the game). That should be enough for a start. We'll probably want to add a knockback effect later. I don't think any skill should be involved here.

Zig-zag (needs better name) is as you can imagine to evade projectiles. If a monster fires at you and your last step was at an angle from the missile trajectory, you get an evasion bonus. The bonus depends on the angle, dex and AEVP. Encourages the player to make zig-zag steps for engaging (or fleeing from) a monster with a ranged attack.

What is nice is that these 2 abilities can be coded in a similar way: we just have to keep track of the last few steps of the player. And they can help balance recent changes too ;)


I am sorry but these two abilities are pointless. They really add nothing to game play or decision making. They are so narrow and add so little to play that I would never consider training up a weapon skill to achieve them. So what exactly is the point? Adding code just to add code is a waste of resources. If these abilities do not add something significant to the game just don't waste the time. Not to mention both of these are far harder to code then simple activated abilities, and the likelihood of getting this to come to fruition is inversely proportional to its difficulty to code. Start with simple activated abilities and then after the ball is rolling if you want to add some complex passive abilities go for it. Crawl first, then walk, then run.

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Post Saturday, 22nd January 2011, 00:49

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

acvar wrote:I am sorry but these two abilities are pointless. They really add nothing to game play or decision making. They are so narrow and add so little to play that I would never consider training up a weapon skill to achieve them. So what exactly is the point? Adding code just to add code is a waste of resources. If these abilities do not add something significant to the game just don't waste the time. Not to mention both of these are far harder to code then simple activated abilities, and the likelihood of getting this to come to fruition is inversely proportional to its difficulty to code. Start with simple activated abilities and then after the ball is rolling if you want to add some complex passive abilities go for it. Crawl first, then walk, then run.

You are aware that these rhetorics are not going to make you a serious partner in communication?
If running towards an enemy for four steps (without pause) and being of Str 25 made you reliably double damage, that'd "add nothing to gameplay"? (We are talking about NUMBERS -- if a factor of 2 won't do, some factor definitely would. I'll never understand the preemptive exclusion of mechanics as "useless", when the parameters are open.)

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Post Saturday, 22nd January 2011, 01:04

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

dpeg wrote:
acvar wrote:I am sorry but these two abilities are pointless. They really add nothing to game play or decision making. They are so narrow and add so little to play that I would never consider training up a weapon skill to achieve them. So what exactly is the point? Adding code just to add code is a waste of resources. If these abilities do not add something significant to the game just don't waste the time. Not to mention both of these are far harder to code then simple activated abilities, and the likelihood of getting this to come to fruition is inversely proportional to its difficulty to code. Start with simple activated abilities and then after the ball is rolling if you want to add some complex passive abilities go for it. Crawl first, then walk, then run.

You are aware that these rhetorics are not going to make you a serious partner in communication?
If running towards an enemy for four steps (without pause) and being of Str 25 made you reliably double damage, that'd "add nothing to gameplay"? (We are talking about NUMBERS -- if a factor of 2 won't do, some factor definitely would. I'll never understand the preemptive exclusion of mechanics as "useless", when the parameters are open.)


You do realize you can't run towards the enemy for 4 turns unless they are not moving for some reason? You do realize that forcing people to make multiple restricted moves to activate an ability is just a far more involved activated ability? You do realize that earlier in this thread you yourself said simple damage bonuses were not a good idea? Heck maybe you are right. Lets do the same thing with spells. Make players dance around the screen in specific movements just to cast a spell, and make sure each sequence is unique. Gee we can get rid of the z command that way. Wouldn't that be great?
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