Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.


Although the central place for design discussion is ##crawl-dev on freenode, some may find it helpful to discuss requests and suggestions here first.

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Halls Hopper

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Post Saturday, 22nd January 2011, 02:01

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

"Four turns" is also a parameter, and "for some reason" includes most ranged attacks.

One of the purposes of the special moves is to encourage certain patterns of movement. Charge in particular forces a choice between "more damage" and "wait behind corner," rather than being a "simple damage bonus."

Also, stop being ridiculous.

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Post Saturday, 22nd January 2011, 03:15

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

dpeg wrote: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.


I love this thread! That being said, I tend to agree with dpeg that abilities that change de facto melee tactics (i.e., corridor fighting) would be pretty interesting. For example:

A stance that grants a bonus to hit/damage that increases by the number of adjacent enemies (encourages fighting in the open and/or surrounded)
Cleave: a passive ability that grants you a free attack on an enemy adjacent to the one you've just actively hit (this can have issues by forcing actions when they don't want it -- perhaps it's a free hit e.g., without time cost)
A precision stance that grants a bonus to hit at the sacrifice of weapon speed (this one doesn't necessarily change tactics, but grants options)
A defensive stance that grants an EV bonus for each open dungeon floor square adjacent to the player (perhaps tied to DEX)

Just some ideas.
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Post Saturday, 22nd January 2011, 05:02

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

@acvar - Dude, who peed in your oatmeal this morning? Let's stay cool.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Saturday, 22nd January 2011, 05:36

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Just to brainstorm (this seems a little far-fetched and overly-complex for crawl at the moment), I always thought a branching system of binary attack choices, further influenced by context, would be cool.

For ease of description, I'm going to assume the choices are A (directional arrow) or B (ctrl + directional arrow).

I'm wielding a long sword, and I'm next to a goblin. I can either choose A and do a slash, or B and do a thrust. These would both do the same damage, but set me up for different attack choices; maybe if I hit with the slash, my next pair of choices on that target becomes A - Slash (same as the first one) or B - Backhand slash, which does some extra damage, but if I miss with it, my next pair of options will both be less attractive than if I hit with it. And so on.

If I instead choose the thrust and hit with it, maybe A becomes a kick (I'm kicking the monster off my sword, unbalancing it and thereby reducing it's EV temporarily), and B becomes a move where I twist the blade as I pull it out, doing more damage but without a special effect.

These moves could change based on context; maybe I block an attack two turns in a row and get a shield bash instead of one of my other options, because blocking has put me into a more defensive position.

The difficulty with something like this system is that it would be complex to a degree that's inconsistent with most of the game currently, in addition to requiring spoilers or extensive practice to make full use of.

The advantages would be a larger degree of meaningful choice in melee combat, if implemented correctly.
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Post Saturday, 22nd January 2011, 09:23

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

acvar wrote:
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.

I specifically said that no skills should be involved for those 2 moves. They give a choice to melee builds about how to engage a ranged attacker. Do you want to maximise offense or defense? Also, I don't think they are difficult to code. And about the likelihood of getting this into, it will probably increase when I stop wasting my time answering you and go back to coding...
In general, most special moves are going to be harder to balance than to code. Funny you have such a violent reaction when charge is one of the move you proposed in your OP. Are you angry because I turned it into a passive ability? As I said earlier, I am not against active abilities, but designing interesting and meaningful ones (power attack isn't one) is going to be hard, so I think we should do it later.
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Post Saturday, 22nd January 2011, 12:58

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

galehar wrote:
evktalo wrote:X needs to be unoccupied.

Why?


In Disgaea, in that specific (hypothetical) move, the character takes a step back to accelerate for the move (rush through a line of enemies, damaging each of them). That's why that particular spot (behind the character) must be unobstructed.

Also the move can be:

  Code:
@ = you
x is the target area

.....
...x.
.@.x.
...x.
.....


In this move, you have to be in a specific position in relation to your target(s) for it to hit. So the position thing can work this way too.

--Eino

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Post Saturday, 22nd January 2011, 13:10

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Eino, how is the targeting done with these moves?

I have played my share of Nethack and while I liked the idea of jumping, I hated the interface clumsiness associated with it. While it could be improved a bit, there's always some additional work (not with mouse control, granted). One idea about the moves suggested so far (on the wiki page) is that they're only dependent on player movement and position, nothing else.

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Post Saturday, 22nd January 2011, 13:15

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

You can target them in the cardinal directions, up, down, left right, so that move could be:

  Code:
.......  .......  .......  .......
..xxx..  .......  .......  ....... 
.......  .......  .x.....  .....x. 
...@...  ...@...  .x.@...  ...@.x. 
.......  .......  .x.....  .....x. 
.......  ..xxx..  .......  ....... 
.......  .......  .......  .......


--Eino
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Post Saturday, 22nd January 2011, 14:47

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

evktalo wrote:
galehar wrote:
evktalo wrote:X needs to be unoccupied.

Why?


In Disgaea, in that specific (hypothetical) move, the character takes a step back to accelerate for the move (rush through a line of enemies, damaging each of them). That's why that particular spot (behind the character) must be unobstructed.

Also the move can be:

  Code:
@ = you
x is the target area

.....
...x.
.@.x.
...x.
.....


In this move, you have to be in a specific position in relation to your target(s) for it to hit. So the position thing can work this way too.

--Eino

I don't think the stepback is necessary. The point of passive abilities is to be simple and straightforward. And don't forget that you might be charging at an angle. In this case, you are going to wonder which one of the spot behind you needs to be free. And I don't see how the interface could help you in a clean way.
Also, I don't like the other move (break through enemy lines). Too complicated.
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Post Saturday, 22nd January 2011, 15:00

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Um, that was not an example of a passive ability, but an example of an activatable ability with positioning considerations.

--Eino

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Post Sunday, 23rd January 2011, 00:05

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.


I like this idea. I would like to suggest that each weapon can play differently, so that there would be more of a tactical choice in weapon type choosing.
currently in my experience, choosing a more powerful weapon is usually a better option, no matter the type!
should i go with great mace? or demon whips? or great sword? or bardiche? or executioner axe?
There may be a few circumstancial differences (ie using a great sword against a hydra, and race dependencies), but other than that, theres no obvious tactical difference. they all play the same, just arrow key spam.

As a newbie a few versions back, i noticed this early on, and figured that it doesnt matter which type of weapon i use, as long as i actually specailise in ONE weapon type. even now, the weapon type seem meaningless, and i seem to always choose long blades simply because they look cool.

adding some active or even passive quirks to the weapon types at least adds some meaning behind the weapon type.
for example, these are my suggestions

great swords or large axes have the "cleave ability", but cant be used in corridors. i suggest that this cleave ability be passive for the larger weapons, such as great swords or battleaxes.

large maces/giant ogre clubs have a passive (strength dependant) knockback ability
and if there's the "maxwell silver hammer" enchantment, striking the ground makes an area of effect damage, followed by a large thump noise that alerts others.

whips in reality are medium range weapons, they can reach as far as spears. i've seen whips of reaching, but ive never bothered to use whips because of the "more damage is better" mindset. however, it would be cool if whips could have more "nimble" abilities, since whips are the weapons of dexterous characters. for example:
tripping a monster(with legs or course) using whips is more likely
weapon stealing(the chances of disarming increases with skill and strength), after all whips can grab the handles of spears, large axes, staves, maces etc except long blades. with these abilities, a dexterous nimble character can have the incentive to train "Mace and flails" for this specialised weapon. of course, other monsters with the whips may be able to disarm you! ;) unless your weapon is cursed! :P

as for polearms, i'd like to their 2 tile range become permanent, otherwise, besides race aptitudes and the current "reach" brand, theres no obvious difference between how it plays with other weapons. spears in reality are used for their advantage in ranged melee, after all whats the point of using a spear if you cannot pierce your opponent when you are a few feet from their striking distance?

i can't seem to think of anything realistic for short blades except dual wielding, but i remember there was a suggestion once for dual wielding, and it didnt go very well.

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Post Sunday, 23rd January 2011, 19:32

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I kinda like the relative simplicity of Crawl hand to hand and don't think its interface would benefit from these types of commands very much. WoW has real-time battles and can implement them better. What I would like is passive abilities that work as a potential buff. For example, give Minotaur a set chance of "goring" the enemy in hand to hand combat, which would inflict knockback and extra damage, or a "giant slayer" ability for certain races (halflings? dwarves?) that would do more damage to huge enemies like Elephants. The problem with Crawl is that there are so many more enemies than PCs onscreen, that if you gave enemies loads of dangerous passive abilities, you'd make the game unwinnable.

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Post Wednesday, 26th January 2011, 10:14

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Maybe only give special moves to monks.

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Post Wednesday, 26th January 2011, 18:46

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Unarmed needs less raw damage and more special moves, yes, but only giving special moves to monks still leaves weapon types undifferentiated (and uninteresting).
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Post Wednesday, 26th January 2011, 19:23

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Giving special moves to just one background would not really work. A major feature of Crawl is that background really just affects starting skills and equipment. Nothing is permanently closed off or available based on the background.

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Post Wednesday, 26th January 2011, 22:25

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I assumed "Maybe only give special moves to monks." meant "unarmed combat only", but if it meant making it background specific, then that's even worse.

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Post Thursday, 27th January 2011, 03:38

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I had a flash of monks being able to specialise in different schools of unarmed combat, you know, crane style, tiger style, et al., but it sounds like the idea doesn't have legs.

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2011, 20:15

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Any news on weapon traits? Can't wait to see it implemented, since i read wiki page. That's such a great idea. Anyone working on it?
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2011, 20:23

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Nope, nothing yet. Seems like it can't make its way to the top of anyone's todo list. I'd love to code some of them myself, but my todo is quite crowded with more urgent stuff.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2011, 20:41

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I miss some special kick/punch that displaces the monster several positions away, or a throw action. Ideal to throw enemies into shafts, traps, lava or water.
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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2011, 20:59

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

That's a great idea. Give melee builds another escape option.

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Post Tuesday, 26th July 2011, 21:07

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Git is 0.10 now. So, may be players can humbly ask devs to make weapon traits goal for 0.10?

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Post Wednesday, 27th July 2011, 00:43

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Agreed, I'd love to see this as a goal for 0.10, it's a change which could only enhance gameplay.
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Post Wednesday, 27th July 2011, 00:45

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

i have an interesting idea, a way to make passive abilities more interesting. Instead of giving each weapon a minor bonus, give each weapon a chance to trigger a major bonus that lasts for a few turns, the chance increases depending on your weapon skill. Because the triggered ability lasts for a limited amount of time, it will encourage players to play recklessly to get the maximum effect out of the ability.

For example, axe gets cleave, hitting the three spaces in front.
Spear gets pierce, hit two spaces in a line.
Dagger gets a chance to stab depending on weapon skill.
Mace gets trample, if you kill an enemy you get another action.
Longblades gets crippling blow, weakens and slows the enemy
Staves get double blow, each attack you make hits or misses twice.
Unarmed gets Zen you attack with all auxilary attacks each turn.
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Post Wednesday, 27th July 2011, 08:15

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

tazoz wrote:i have an interesting idea, a way to make passive abilities more interesting. Instead of giving each weapon a minor bonus, give each weapon a chance to trigger a major bonus that lasts for a few turns, the chance increases depending on your weapon skill. Because the triggered ability lasts for a limited amount of time, it will encourage players to play recklessly to get the maximum effect out of the ability.

For example, axe gets cleave, hitting the three spaces in front.
Spear gets pierce, hit two spaces in a line.
Dagger gets a chance to stab depending on weapon skill.
Mace gets trample, if you kill an enemy you get another action.
Longblades gets crippling blow, weakens and slows the enemy
Staves get double blow, each attack you make hits or misses twice.
Unarmed gets Zen you attack with all auxilary attacks each turn.


might be better to have maces give knock back given that set. and I would prefer the Staves to have the attacks rolled separately, so that you could get a hit and a miss.

How would this interact with berserk, (both states triggering at once may be too extreme? - perhaps you need a cool head to aim blows so couldn't do it if beserk - this gives an interesting option to pure melee)

Would monsters be able to trigger this ability?

Sounds interesting though.
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Post Wednesday, 27th July 2011, 08:29

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I really think that this would be more fun to have it not passive, and not strictly damaged based. Knockback is the prime example, you might not want to knock something back (say into lava and lose all its gear) and if it was passive it would happen whether you like it or not. Secondly, one of the reasons why magic is more fun than melee is that you get more control over magic, where as melee is just pressing forwards, so I think it can only be helped by having other options.
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Post Wednesday, 27th July 2011, 08:45

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Bim wrote:I really think that this would be more fun to have it not passive, and not strictly damaged based. Knockback is the prime example, you might not want to knock something back (say into lava and lose all its gear) and if it was passive it would happen whether you like it or not. Secondly, one of the reasons why magic is more fun than melee is that you get more control over magic, where as melee is just pressing forwards, so I think it can only be helped by having other options.

But that's the whole point of melee vs magic, to have a different gameplay. If melee is about spamming combat abilities, then it plays out just like casting and it reduces variety. Also passive doesn't mean completely random. Charge, sidestep and open ground attacks are good examples of passive abilities which aren't random. Active abilities can be considered, but they will be the exception, not the norm. Maybe only as special move unlocked at skill level 27 for example.

PS: I've just moved the weapon perks wiki page from the items section to the combat section.
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Post Wednesday, 27th July 2011, 09:45

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

What I would really like to see is a way to get away from enemies who are adjacent to you. At the moment the only method I know of is to take off your weapon, which puts one unit of distance between you and your enemy every other turn, and then run up some stairs.

An activated ability to knock back an enemy a few units wouldn't be so bad.

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Post Wednesday, 27th July 2011, 15:18

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

snow wrote:to take off your weapon, which puts one unit of distance between you and your enemy every other turn


? Do you mean that you run faster when not carrying a weapon?

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Post Wednesday, 27th July 2011, 15:33

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

snow is talking about the weapon switch tactic, which exploits the fact that swapping weapons is the fastest action in the game. With most opponents of average speed, if you swap your weapon and they attack you, you will have enough energy to move away and put a space between you and the opponent before they've recovered from their attack. Particularly useful against wielders of giant clubs (spikes optional) and big polearms.
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Post Wednesday, 27th July 2011, 16:21

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

I think that the term "passive abilities" for melee maneuvers not activated by 'a' is really a misnomer for most of the moves being suggested, since if you read the wiki page, the plan is that you ARE going to be able to trigger them actively; instead of just pressing 'a', though, you will use positioning and movement to set up the move.

I believe that this distinction is important to the discussion because it seems that a major objection to non-'a' maneuvers is that they won't be fun because the player will have little control over when they activate. But the real question is not whether they will be activated or not, but how they will be activated. Will we have maneuvers that will be activated by selecting from a list from the A screen, or will we have maneuvers that are triggered by a sequence of moves?

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Post Wednesday, 27th July 2011, 16:31

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

galehar wrote:But that's the whole point of melee vs magic, to have a different gameplay. If melee is about spamming combat abilities, then it plays out just like casting and it reduces variety. Also passive doesn't mean completely random. Charge, sidestep are open ground attacks are good examples of passive abilities which aren't random. Active abilities can be considered, but they will be the exception, not the norm. Maybe only as special move unlocked at skill level 27 for example.


Would toggle-able stances fit in as a possible compromise between people who want melee to be simple and people who want more for melee character to do? If the default stance is one that is generally useful and has no serious drawbacks, the players who prefer simple melee could just pull out one of the special-purpose ones for particularly challenging combats, while players who prefer having a variety of options can fiddle with it more. If you add more stances or make them more likely to work properly as you gain more weapon skill, you could differentiate between the weapon classes quite a bit without buffing direct combat damage in a hallway excessively. The ability to switch stances would work around the fact that sometimes you don't want passive abilities to fire off, since you could just use a stance that doesn't activate that ability in those situations.
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Post Wednesday, 27th July 2011, 17:32

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Bim wrote:Agreed, I'd love to see this as a goal for 0.10, it's a change which could only enhance gameplay.

I think adding charge and sidestep for 0.10 is a reasonable goal. They are simple and intuitive and balance out the ranged AI improvements. I don't know if we'll have time to do more, but starting with those 2 sounds like a good plan.
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Post Wednesday, 27th July 2011, 18:28

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

As I mentioned, I think passive abilities could get annoying (knock back ect.) and lead to tedious positioning. More than that though, I was simply meaning that it would be nice to have an extra level of control over melee, not to become 'another' spellcasting. For instance the naga spit attack is a nice inbetween action, and I can imagine similar ones could be good. However I very much like the idea of getting 'unlockable' skills, and this would partly solve the problem of levelling some skills becoming 'useless' after a certain level.
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Post Wednesday, 27th July 2011, 19:36

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

It's already kinda talked about, but I'd like to hammer home something so this could be a "two birds, one stone" scenario.

As crawl stands at this moment(8) there is very very little point to put stat points into ANYTHING but Int if you plan on casting spells at all. If you don't plan on casting spells you basically should be trog. Maybe not that black and white, but much too close.

With that said I really think that any and all ideas that help out melee combat should be influenced, changed, enhanced, or maybe even available only based on your STR and DEX stats.

This has the further advantage if you're feeling ambitious of making the "This weapon is better used by the X" actually mean something. Whips are for the dexterous, but no one gives a damn about that right now because the bonus is next to non existent. Therefore whips better enhanced abilities could be influence by DEX. The opposite for axes. Just like a caster who throws points in int gets extra spells, a melee who throws points in Str or dex gets better (or possibly more) melee skills(active or not).

I really think the goal should be to make melee fighting have as many meaningful choices as casting, even if it provides different game play. And I don't just mean in battle, but in build as well.
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Post Wednesday, 27th July 2011, 21:24

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Obviously, charge should be based on str and sidestep on dex. Other moves could use a mixture of the 2. Also, charge should be available for all weapons, but more effective with polearms.
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Post Thursday, 28th July 2011, 19:49

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

galehar wrote:Obviously, charge should be based on str and sidestep on dex. Other moves could use a mixture of the 2. Also, charge should be available for all weapons, but more effective with polearms.

Or a large shield and above? :3
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Post Thursday, 28th July 2011, 20:02

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

There is a lot to read above and I'll see if my idea is up there already after I post.

I would prefer to see some sort of automatic defensive maneuver using the current weapon in-hand, akin to Shield skill. PASSIVE ABILITY.

The following is by no means even close to a full calculation, but it is as basic an idea that can be implemented. I'm going for something a lot less complex than some pre-calculated maneuver.

The maneuver "You parry an attack" could be reflexive and consume or delay one's ability to attack the next round; the likelihood of this taking place is dependent on the number of times being attacked, combined with fighting/weapon skill, and with the type of weapon being a factor (lajatang having the best advantage here, IMHO).

The programmatic implementation of this value could be a calculated amount that either replaces (I'm not in favor), combines with (somewhat in favor), or supplements (a completely separate value - favorable) shield ability acting in a similar, yet lesser (or greater depending on the weapon wielded) fashion.

To me, this is a simpler solution and adds a new, protective factor to weapons without having to dive into too much depth.
Last edited by XuaXua on Thursday, 28th July 2011, 20:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 28th July 2011, 20:13

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

galehar wrote:Zig-zag (needs better name) is as you can imagine to evade projectiles.


Serpentine.

Google "serpentine avoid".
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Blades Runner

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Post Thursday, 28th July 2011, 20:13

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

@XuaXua
you mean, like parry idea that i posted in another thread?

For this message the author Curio has received thanks:
XuaXua
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Joined: Thursday, 10th February 2011, 18:30

Post Thursday, 28th July 2011, 20:18

Re: Martial Manuvers, Stances and Special Attacks.

Curio wrote:@XuaXua
you mean, like parry idea that i posted in another thread?


Probably. I was certain I wasn't the first to think of it, but I'd love to see it. It seems to be the only missing natural compliment to the combat system.

Also, I may have hijacked your thread:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2142
"Be aware that a lot of people on this forum, such as mageykun and XuaXua, have a habit of making things up." - minmay a.k.a. duvessa
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