Goddess of Drama


Although the central place for this kind of discussion is on the CDO wiki, some may find it helpful to discuss potential requests and suggestions here first.

Mines Malingerer

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Post Saturday, 17th March 2012, 17:56

Goddess of Drama

Used to be a TL;DR wall of text describing Riefe the Director.

..That may now be found here!
Last edited by Infinitum on Tuesday, 20th March 2012, 21:48, edited 29 times in total.

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Post Sunday, 18th March 2012, 00:19

Re: Goddes of Drama

There's a couple cool ideas in here. I like the Spirit Choir idea, even if it is kind of stylistically similar to Ashenzari, and I like the idea of a god of drama or some other kind of art.
But the dramatic arts theme, as you have it, doesn't feel coherent to me; connecting "not being able to leave a level or a branch" with "god is telling a story" seems like more of a stretch between flavor and mechanics than we see with other gods. (And you don't have much space in-game to explain the connection to the player, either.)
"Climactic Strike" also seems to break the god-ability theme of resistances and not dying.
Also, if the god not only helps you find artifacts, but rewards you for doing so, it seems odd that the god's main thing, giving you resistances, would overlap with what artifacts are primarily used for.
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Post Sunday, 18th March 2012, 00:22

Re: Goddes of Drama

I don't ever want to be in melee range of enemies, and I don't want to ever be hit, and I don't want to level up translocations, and I don't ever want to die, and I don't every want to use gear suitable for a branch. I want a God to do this all for me. I support your proposal.
im ur worst dps nightmare bro

Mines Malingerer

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Post Sunday, 18th March 2012, 12:00

Re: Goddes of Drama

But the dramatic arts theme, as you have it, doesn't feel coherent to me; connecting "not being able to leave a level or a branch" with "god is telling a story" seems like more of a stretch between flavor and mechanics than we see with other gods. (And you don't have much space in-game to explain the connection to the player, either.)


Well, the idea is that seh rewards you for maintaing a coherent narrative and seeing your undertakings through.

"Climactic Strike" also seems to break the god-ability theme of resistances and not dying.


As my proposal stands, you're encouraged to do, say, Elf:5 before entering lair. There will be a lot of dying involved with this one. Thematically, it plays on the trope of the main character constantly being on the verge of death without actually dying (and also managing killing blows at the villains moment of triumph).

Also, if the god not only helps you find artifacts, but rewards you for doing so, it seems odd that the god's main thing, giving you resistances, would overlap with what artifacts are primarily used for.


Since the player is encouraged to leave levels behind forever there needs to be something telling them they're leaving stuff behind if forced to flee. The resistances isn't so much the main draw of the god as much as making sure the players underleved ass has even a chance to make it through. This will probably be a challenge god I think =).

@twelve: Is that internet sarcasm I'm sensing? =)
Last edited by Infinitum on Sunday, 18th March 2012, 17:10, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Sunday, 18th March 2012, 15:15

Re: Goddes of Drama

I was writing a longer reply because I really like the concept, but I just want to comment on this:
"Climactic Strike" also seems to break the god-ability theme of resistances and not dying.


As my proposal stands, you're encouraged to do, say, Elf:5 before entering lair. There will be a lot of dying involved with this one. Thematically, it plays on the trope of the main character being on the verge of death but never actually dying (and also managing killing blows at the villains moment of triumph).


I think this is a big problem with the proposal as it stands. This god a) sends you into high level branches when you're far too weak to have a remotely realistic chance of completing them. But b) provides you with super powers that mean you can actually defeat those branches.

This is a major, game-breaking, problem. The XP and loot your character picks up in Elf will mean you have very little problem with a huge chunk of the rest of the game. Besides which, the vast majority of characters will still unavoidably die in Elf because "a chance to save when you die" is not nearly enough. As you say, there will be a lot of dying - you can't just save the player every time. Also the player will get banished multiple times because even with Riefe (presumably) providing MR in Elf it won't be enough.

So I think you need to select a reasonably sensible order in which the god will tell you to do the branches. Then slightly randomise it to provide a level of unexpected challenge. It will still be very challenging, at least for the first few branches, and this way you don't have to make the abilities so ridiculously overpowered (this is basically I think what twelwe was getting at).

For me, personally, the no-branch-hopping theme works. But I think you can expand on the concept:

"All the world is a stage, all the men and women merely players, and Riefe desires to be the director. If you worship this god, you are expected to follow the script that is written for you - wherever it may take you."

What I'm imaging is that Riefe's "stage directions" won't just be about branches - sometimes it will be "kill [x] unique", "retrieve [y] item" etc.

I think that the piety loss / penance for bailing out on a particular task shouldn't hurt too much, so there's still actually a choice.

For this message the author mumra has received thanks:
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Post Sunday, 18th March 2012, 15:36

Re: Goddes of Drama

Without a deep insight on the possible overpowered or underpowered features, I like the concept of the choir and the challenge of being directed in your search rather than roaming with free will for a exchange of some kind of boosts. Thematic-wise is a nice addition for the pantheon.

It's like a merge of the whimsical Xom -not chaotic but ordered-, Ashenzari and Okawaru.

I remember that someone talk about improving Xom adding some quest-like requests. Perhaps if the god is not implemented eventually, some of these features can be included in Xom repertoire.

Probably the problem to solve here is a convenient definition of the god's "plot" or "itinerary" for you. I'm thinking on a planning of prerequisites and co-requisites like the courses in a degree, defined previously.

With Xom could be made completely random but here is a balance between the challenge and the assistance for the long-term game. Advice about the intrinsic difficulties of all the branches in Crawl from the pros is requested.
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Mines Malingerer

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Post Sunday, 18th March 2012, 17:02

Re: Goddes of Drama

Points taken. So then, some sort of order that she adheres to? The PC can move about the main dungeon as he/she/it likes, discovering new branches and whatnot (which he cannot enter without Riefe's consent). Once he happens about the next branch on Riefes list (or any portal vault) he is bound to enter it however and is not to leave until Riese has deemed it finished (either by fully exploring the bottom floor or retrieving the rune if present). Stairscumming within the branch proper probably has to be allowed since it should be challenging enough as is (and because of certain layouts such as the mines or tomb).

If the player knows the location on the next allowed branch he is prohibited from diving deeper into the dungeon until it is finished as well, otherwise he is free to search the dungeon proper (or its main branch) for its entrance (the spirit chorus hints where it should be located at for new unspoiled players). Zot is deemed finished once fully explored (Orb chamber and all), and may be entered and reentered at will at any point (once entered however it must be fully cleared before the player is allowed to leave). However, Riefe gets miffed if cleared branches are being reentered (to prevent players scumming rather than moving onto the next branch).

Order would be somewhat randomized to keep players on edge, but something like: Orc, Lair, 2x lair subbranches, Elf, Vault, Crypt, Slime, Abyss, Vestibule, Tomb, Pan (no leaving levels unless explored or rune picked up, no returning to the dungeon until all 5 runes are collected), Hellx4, Ziggurat. Portal vaults m ust be entered as encountered (possibly with the chorus spoiling that one is present on the leve a la Ashl). Zot may be entered at any time (but must be finished prior to exiting), the orb may be collected at any time.

If abyssed out of order the player may leave at will (but not pick up the rune should they come across it!). Alternatively, Riefe protects the player from being abyssed in the first place ("Your place is here, mortal).

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Post Sunday, 18th March 2012, 17:57

Re: Goddes of Drama

Further comments!

Spirit Choir
I was in a school production of Bertolt Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle (an unusual choice for a school, if you know Brecht at all I'm sure you'd agree, but it was a great show). I was a member of the chorus, and that's exactly what I picture with your Spirit Choir. We were the narrative and framing device for the play.

This concepts defines a lot of the flavour and experience of worshipping the god. I think you could expand its role so that the god entirely communicates through the choir. So you receive stage directions through them, on top of hints they might drop, and of course they will sing praise when you complete a task (or if you run away, something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZwuTo7zKM8&t=1m2s)

Could be a lot of fun writing all the choir dialog. A lot of work also, of course!

Shield of Fate
This is a defining ability because it ties in with no-branch-hopping. But I feel that rather than everything being "you must enter the branch and you're not allowed to leave until it's finished" - there should instead be a choice. Something like if you enter the branch early you get the resistance boon for the entire branch, as soon as you leave the branch (or even go back up any stairs) you permanently forfeit the bonus for that branch only. Piety loss or penance for this should be minor - losing the resistance should be major in itself because it's your god's defining ability.

It's hard to come up with an appropriate resistance for every single branch/portal so maybe other abilities could be in there, e.g. permaflight for Shoals/Swamp (might be too good ... but it has downsides of course). You could make the ability more relevant in non-resistance-specific parts of the dungeon by, e.g. if Riefe instructs you to kill a particular unique, you'll get an appropriate resistance when you fight them (as long as you don't try to run away or they leave LOS!)

Personally I'd like to see a different name for this, the current one doesn't really resonate with theatrical concepts how "Encore", "Spirit Choir" and "Ex Machina" do.

I would expect the player to maintain more piety for this very strong ability. "Just the right resistance at just the right time" is extremely hard to get in a regular game.

Ex Machina
I really love the theme of this ability and there are a lot of really interesting effects you could come up with (although, they should all be potentially dangerous to the player).

I would point out that angels imply this is one of the intrinsically "good" gods but she seems more neutral to me. Maybe she could have more appropriately creative summons (e.g. clowns - a non-killer variety, that confuse/mesmerise monsters).

Other Abilities
I think the other abilities should just be dropped. To me they seem unthematic, overpowered, and/or redundant:

- A zero piety life save sounds a little overpowered, to say the least. "Ex Machina" is already a life save ability, at an appropriate piety level/cost, and is properly thematic to boot.
- Climactic Strike. Firstly it kind of encourages keeping your health down which is a bit micromanagey. And automatic direct damage just doesn't seem to fit any theme, and is somewhat uninteresting alongside the god's other features. "Ex Machina" will do great damage in a slightly more indirect way (and require a decision on the part of the player). Perhaps an "inverse to health" rule could apply to Ex Machina instead - so at lower health it's less likely for effects to harm you as well. This could encourage using the ability to finish fights, rather than to start them.
- 4 piety "extra piety dependent saving throw". This is mechanically just a duplication of Shield of Fate. You could just make Shield of Fate stronger depending on piety and it'd be the same thing (but with the interesting decision/cost of completing a task early). The reasoning "interfere with him playing his part", well that could apply to anything ;)

In short: I think Spirit Choir, Shield of Fate and Ex Machina are strong, interesting and thematic enough to carry the idea on its own. You don't need to have new abilities at every piety level. But it leaves room to manoeuvre and there's certainly room for one or two more minor support abilities, I have a couple of ideas:

New Ability Ideas

"Prompt"
Riefe helps you remember texts you have seen. You don't need books or scrolls to be in your possession to use them. An identified physical copy still needs to exist somewhere and it'll get used up as normal. The cost should be significant enough that you don't always want to use it so you'll still carry some common scrolls, but it means any stashed scrolls will be available in an emergency. If this completely breaks the item destruction minigame, it can randomly use up 1-3 copies of the scroll when using the ability.

"Theatrical Exaggeration"
Riefe exaggerates the potential of equipped artifacts. (In legendary tales of yore, the swords are bigger, the armour tougher, the heroes braver than in reality they were...)

The idea here is an almost Ashenzari-like mechanism where you are encourage to use and wear artifact gear over vanilla equipment. It's very rare to see a game where the player has a complete set of artifact gear that's actually better than a mixed set of artifact and non-artifact. I'm not suggesting boosting resistances or other intrinsics - instead things like damage output / accuracy (maybe just boosting enchantment levels for damage calculations), AC, SH. The bonus is greater the more "bound" you are. For me there are two thematic links. Firstly "the stuff of legends" - legendary heroes of course wield legendary weapons and wear legendary armour. Secondly is "costume" - you're a performer on a stage and must look the part!

Theme
With "goddess of fate" you're touching on Nemelex and Xom territory. Riefe seems more like a god of inevitability - your fate has been decided in advance, you just have to walk the path.

Really the theme is "Direction". By that I mean the deity is the director, in essence she provides the script that you must follow - although it's a pretty loose script, much of which instructs "ad lib" ;) It's important to give the player some creative freedom within completing a given task.

Something to consider is how to allow the player to choose how many runes to hunt for. Once the player has 3 runes, diving straight for Zot and grabbing the orb is really just as interesting a story as diving more branches on the way and getting more runes.

Piety
- Book/scroll sacrifice. I'm not sure why a deity that loves plays would hate written text. Perhaps she's only interested in fiction? ;) In any case this is Trog's territory, and additionally some Sif Muna reform proposals include "donating books". So I suggest this is dropped.
- Identifying artifacts I like, although some may find it a little metagamey. What is the intended effect in terms of gameplay? I like the theme, though, and it's giving players a choice - whether to use ?id which they'll need more of, or attempt using something they might not be skilled in for long enough to identify it!
- "The Show Must Go on" (Following the Script). This is the most important element - rewards for completing deeds as the script asks of you! Of course there must be room for letting the actor's own character/personality emerge in the performance, in other words there needs to be room for creativity. So think of it like an improv session, you are given an overall direction but how you achieve it, so long as it's dramatic, is up to you. You need some room for different builds - stabbers, tanks, casters. Teleporting right into the middle of the rune chamber and destroying everything is just as exciting and dramatic a performance as sneaking past the whole level without waking a single monster!

It's also a bit worrying what might happen when the player discovers certain branches too early, i.e. a point when it would literally be death to step inside a particular branch no matter what resistances you had. So I guess there's a lot of balancing needed so players won't be punished too harshly if they need to wait a few levels. Maybe it needs to be thought of more that you get a significant bonus for doing branches early. For instance, take: ( absolute_depth_of_branch - your_xl + branch_adjustment_factor ) * ( some_factor_based_on_piety ), and that number is the strength of the support you get. (The Spirit Choir can communicate the level of bonus you will get for doing a branch at a given time. Every time the support level drops for current "target" branch they can sing a relevant line, culminating with "Bravely ran away, away" when you waited too long and lost the perk.) "Support level" could translate into # pips of resistance you get for a branch (remembering of course, the resistance alone will not save you).

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Post Sunday, 18th March 2012, 18:00

Re: Goddes of Drama

Infinitum wrote:If abyssed out of order the player may leave at will (but not pick up the rune should they come across it!). Alternatively, Riefe protects the player from being abyssed in the first place ("Your place is here, mortal).


Banishment protection would also be far too good; if you take too much randomness out of Crawl, well, it's no longer Crawl ;)

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Post Sunday, 18th March 2012, 20:16

Re: Goddess of Drama

Looked your post over, most of what you wrote I agree with and had already changed (scroll sacrifices etc), updated the OP some more to convey the rest. I like Encore as an ability so I'll keep it for the time being (it's simple, thematic, not much different from the good gods similar abilities and would anyway have a lowish chance of activating and eats up a lot of piety when succesfully doing so). The strike is gone and replaced with a strong single enemy debuff instead (further emphasizing the "Kill strong opponents" facet of the god), probably at middle Piety to avoid spamming.

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Post Sunday, 18th March 2012, 21:40

Re: Goddess of Drama

Infinitum wrote:I like Encore as an ability so I'll keep it for the time being (it's simple, thematic, not much different from the good gods similar abilities and would anyway have a lowish chance of activating and eats up a lot of piety when succesfully doing so).


I'm not sure how it's thematic - surely the point of an epic saga is how the hero won, not how they died and the god bailed them out ;) Ex Machina is somewhat different, because it's proper theatrical flavour.

If it has a low chance of activating, then what's the point? Losing all your health means you failed to utilise available escape options, of which you already had a very powerful one if you had good piety.

"Not much different from the good gods similar abilities" - that's a reason right there to cut it; you don't want to rehash existing abilities, you want new and unique gifts from such an unusual god. And it really is exactly the same as Ex Machina in both theme and effect (an "all else fails" get-out), except it's strictly worse because you have no control over it. Also are you implying this is a "good god"?

I think you can still use the concept of an "Encore" but instead it's something the Spirit Choir might occasionally shout - e.g. you've just killed some tough monsters and you're nearly dead, but Riefe wants you to risk everything and kill some more immediately, with a piety reward if you do so.

On the new bits:

Nemesis also sounds overpowered. To be honest the emphasis seems to not be on exciting and dangerous battles that the hero wins through skill, bravery and cunning; and more on trivialising dangerous encounters (which makes for a far less dramatic story!) Let me just make some general comments about god design - it's not just about coming up with some requisite number of abilities that somehow fit to the theme; it's about having 2 or 3 really deep and interesting gameplay concepts/decisions that work together in a dynamic, and gameplay defining way. A great example is Ashenzari and how the cursing mechanic feeds into all the god's abilities and completely changes the way you make decisions about item and resource usage (for which he provides some supporting abilities to help you manage those resources). Personally I don't see how Nemesis or Encore have anything to do with the overall concept, they simply make you more survivable in a way that would be relevant to any character following any deity. This is why I suggested, e.g., "Exaggeration", because it ties into the other themes, introduces the decisions of how to manage your equipment to favour artifacts, and ultimately will help you with the other themes if you use it right.

Anyway, I still maintain that no other abilities are actually needed. Spirit Choir / Shield of Fate / Ex Machina are three interesting and deep ideas that on their own can create a balanced and winnable game, and can even be further developed and expanded on. Actually a very common developer response I've seen to god proposals (my own included!) is "too many abilities". If the core concept sticks and it works, then minor additional abilities can be added later if balancing or further mechanics are needed.

As a matter of inquiry - have you read the Dungeon Crawl Design Philosophy? If not you will want to: http://crawl.chaosforge.org/index.php?title=Philosophy

For me the really important goal is "meaningful decisions". If you can't highlight where a proposal is presenting a real decision to the player, then it might just not be an interesting addition. For "Encore" there is no decision - optimal strategy is as always to avoid death, just sometimes you will miraculously be saved. For "Nemesis" there's no real decision - if the enemy is tough you'll use it, because you'd rather pre-emptively avoid have to use an Ex Machina. Whereas Ex Machina is good because it's about the timing of using it to best dramatic effect and it has built-in drawbacks.

Resistances:
All looks reasonable, except I would consider rMut for Zot, it's meant to be one of the most difficult challenges after all! Agree with nothing on the orb run, perhaps even explain this in-game that "Even the power of the narrative fails in the presence of the orb".

Ex Machina effects:
- You forgot cave-in. I imagine this as a bunch of small rocks start falling from the ceiling in an area, followed by a bunch of large rocks which deal serious damage. So you have a few turns to get out of the way. This could make a pretty nifty vault, card effect, or misc item instead.
- Filling an area with clouds or fog could be interesting. "Smoke and Mirrors" is a common theatrical trope. Perhaps "Mirrors" could mean creating a number of illusions of the player which die easily but distract monsters long enough for you to escape.
- Konfusing Klowns
- A Troupe of Mime Artists - each with silence radius 2-3
- The Pied Piper - enters LOS tailed by numerous rats, mesmerises all monsters on screen, and leads them away off stage left ;)
- Maquerade Ball - not sure exactly what this should do but I like the name, perhaps a mass polymorph that tends to lower HD?
- In general the effects should try to be fairly unique to this god, and of course fit the theme somewhat. Also I don't think they should vary too much in terms of risk/reward ratio. Some of what you've listed are "instant save", some less so.

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Post Monday, 19th March 2012, 17:10

Re: Goddess of Drama

Ah. But the player isn't a conquering hero. S/He's an actor pretending to be one in order to amuse the powers that be (..whilst also enacting the predestined fate of the universe? Good thing religion isn't required to be internally consistent pretty much by default). Encore isn't a very powerful ability in itself (and certainly not a selling point in picking the god), but it's thematic and has precedent and I plain like it. I also feel that another activated low-piety ability is needed to provide incentitive to raise Invocations (Ex Machina is inherently dangerous and unreliable, and in any case only available past the first few murderous branches). Nemesis fits the bill in that it has precedent in Greek drama (essentially it's the concept of dispensing fate good or bad to those that have earned it; the pissed off goddess punishing those displaying hubris evolved from this).

Another option would be having "acting" (better name pending) as an ability as seen in the movie Team America (ie "mindfuck") - single targeted spell, depending on invocations and monster HD the target has a chance of temporary allying you ("~ prostrates itself at thy feet!"), being pacified ("~ is reconsidering its life choices!"), being paralyzed (~ Is mesmerized by your performance!"), being confused ("~ doesn't quite get it"), being unaffected ("~ is unimpressed") or going berserk ("~ is not amused."). Blatant escape option? Yes. Possibly overpowered? Yes. Ridiculus with stabbing? Yes, but then again actors -are- devious bastards eh? Come thinking of it, this is actually rather neat as it's powerful early on (when needed) and naturally loses power after that (with rising HD on monsters), and it still doesn't automatically solve the oh shit situations involving multiple enemies. Anyway, the exact form of the low piety ability isn't important as long as it makes sense and is reasonably powerful early on.
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Post Monday, 19th March 2012, 17:29

Re: Goddess of Drama

sounds exactly like recite
im ur worst dps nightmare bro

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Post Monday, 19th March 2012, 18:21

Re: Goddess of Drama

Infinitum wrote:Ah. But the player isn't a conquering hero. S/He's an actor pretending to be one in order to amuse the powers that be (..whilst also enacting the predestined fate of the universe? Good thing religion isn't required to be internally consistent pretty much by default). Encore isn't a very powerful ability in itself (and certainly not a selling point in picking the god), but it's thematic and has precedent and I plain like it. I also feel that another activated low-piety ability is needed to provide incentitive to raise Invocations (Ex Machina is inherently dangerous and unreliable, and in any case only available past the first few murderous branches). Nemesis fits the bill in that it has precedent in Greek drama (essentially it's the concept of dispensing fate good or bad to those that have earned it; the pissed off goddess punishing those displaying hubris evolved from this).

Another option would be having "acting" (better name pending) as an ability as seen in the movie Team America (ie "mindfuck") - single targeted spell, depending on invocations and monster HD the target has a chance of temporary allying you ("~ prostrates itself at thy feet!"), being pacified ("~ is reconsidering its life choices!"), being paralyzed (~ Is mesmerized by your performance!"), being confused ("~ doesn't quite get it"), being unaffected ("~ is unimpressed") or going berserk ("~ is not amused."). Blatant escape option? Yes. Possibly overpowered? Yes. Ridiculus with stabbing? Yes, but then again actors -are- devious bastards eh? Come thinking of it, this is actually rather neat as it's powerful early on (when needed) and naturally loses power after that (with rising HD on monsters), and it still doesn't automatically solve the oh shit situations involving multiple enemies. Anyway, the exact form of the low piety ability isn't important as long as it makes sense and is reasonably powerful early on.


It's nothing like as overpowered as some of the other suggestions, but as twelwe points out there it's very similar to an existing god's unique ability (but without the choice). I think there is also a problem that since Ex Machina needs so many varied effects, the question is why make something a separate ability rather than just adding it to the list of Ex Machina? Adding to the depth of one ability is better than creating a whole new one in my opinion. That's why I think additional support abilities should be distinctly different. If all the deity's abilities boil down simply to "kill stuff easier" then they're not very unique or varied other than flavour.

You didn't give any feedback on my "Prompt" idea, what did you think about that? Personally I think it could be an interesting new mechanic - better maintenance of important tactical buttons (which you'll need), and the ability to swap out spells on the fly (as long as you can find a quiet spot). Actually that synergises brilliantly with the "no branch hopping" angle, for instance if you level up and suddenly have enough slots for a new spell mid-branch, you don't have to backtrack and lose piety just to find the book.

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Post Monday, 19th March 2012, 19:15

Re: Goddess of Drama

It's OK, but better inventory management seems a bit off as well, more in line with what Sif Muna should afford the PC?

Tried warping my previous ability to let the player put on a show (literally!) for surrounding monsters; might be a little hard to properly balance but I like the concept and it makes sense given the inclinations of the god and allow for "Bard" characters somewhat. Any feedback on Enact?

EDIT: Also might as well mention that I'm continually adding to and rewriting the OP, pretty happy where the general fluff section and abilities are at the moment, but more feedback is always welcome!

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Post Tuesday, 20th March 2012, 00:55

Re: Goddess of Drama

Infinitum wrote:It's OK, but better inventory management seems a bit off as well, more in line with what Sif Muna should afford the PC?


Sif Muna doesn't offer anything in the way of inventory management; she gives you channelling, spellbook gifts, and miscast protection. So yes it conflicts with Sif in the sense of "an ability that involves spellbooks". But in that sense Trog conflicts with Sif! But letting you read spellbooks remotely (which is somewhat minor, considering under normal circumstances you can just travel to your stash and read them anyway) is very different to giving you spellbooks.

From the point of view of someone who mainly plays casters - without this ability, the god of drama looks extremely weak. Having to plan which spellbooks to take into a particular branch based on which spells I might want to learn if I gain sufficient slots, becomes very micromanagey and is quite a strategic decision. If she doesn't let you leave branches, then maybe it's a good compensation to being able to memorise spells remotely. And I think the thematic idea (of being prompted for your lines, of course) fits very nicely as well! The idea of the ability was rather than giving you something that directly helps, instead to give a new tool that can mitigate the hazards of not being able to leave branches.

New stuff:

Firstly - rather than updating the OP which makes it quite hard to follow changes, you might want to go ahead and create a proposal page on the dev wiki. That way anyone following it can see diffs of each version to see which points have changed. Things can still be discussed here but it's a good place to keep a permanent record of your overall proposal.

Enact - to be honest, I'm still not keen. I think it's sounding better but it's still extremely close to Recite. You're giving the player a choice of "do I spend multiple turns attempting to use this ability to then give me a window of escape" or "do I use a different escape option right now and I'm out of here and alive?"

What I don't see is how the overall proposal benefits from having this ability - you already have a very thematic and interesting "affect multiple targets" option and this seems like overkill. It just doesn't grab me as adding any new depth. Of course it goes without saying this is just my opinion and you can take whatever you want from it ;)

Ex Machina - how I imagined cave-in was piles of stones and occasional large rocks appearing randomly on squares and dealing damage as they did so. The problem with creating tiles of rock is the danger of trapping the player leaving them no choice but starve. This is also a consideration for the one with wall/floor tile rearrangement. Of course you can try and use path-finding logic to ensure levels aren't completely broken; but this becomes non-trivial and you have a situation where bugs will keep cropping up, and even possibilities of player abuse (e.g. abusing environment to create funnels to take on monsters one-by-one in Zot, to pick something ridiculous-but-possible...)

Sanctuary - I think that's a strictly "good god" effect ...

Mines Malingerer

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Post Tuesday, 20th March 2012, 01:43

Re: Goddess of Drama

Don't forget you can still leave stuff around the main dungeon for future use (as well as lair/the vestibule as long as you haven't finished all subbranches). Leaving stuff behind closed doors is kind of safe as far as jellies are concerned, and thieve can be hunted down as well. I'm saying it feels like a Sif ability since she is thematically a Librarian (and imo somewhat boring in her current iteration). One idea for the stash is giving the player free access to the "backstage" area mentioned as a DE ability, but then further restrictions would be needed to be put in place to prevent it being another escape option

Enact is different from Ex Machina in that it's better off used at the beginning of a battle when you can afford to waste a few turns powering it up. Having access to magical crowd control is probably needed to give the player early options to deal with Orc hordes and Hydras. As it is it's probably somewhat overpowered in that a few back to back activations is liable to either kill or incapacitate everything onscreen, at least in the early game (albeit a shortish duration and the piety cost might serve to prevent spam). Ex Machina slightly stepping on the toes of other god's domains is okay in my eyes, but I'll give that sanctuary is a rather non-spectacular use of the power and could be scrapped. Any more ideas what to replace it for? The god doesn't really feel that weak to me as is now, you get free (and guaranteed relevant!) resists, crowd control and a few fairly powerful escape options in return for potentially having to tackle branch underleveled and not having a 100% safe place to store stuff in. Not Trog powerful (tm), but useful nonetheless and it does add variation to the pantheon.

I'll add this to the Wiki tomorrow probably, gonna get some sleep as is.

EDIT: Oh yeah, your idea for cave in works just as well (as a standalone or in conjunction). I kinda like altering the dungeon layout to underline the raw power of the act though.
Last edited by Infinitum on Tuesday, 20th March 2012, 01:46, edited 1 time in total.

Mines Malingerer

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Post Tuesday, 20th March 2012, 01:53

Re: Goddess of Drama

..They what now? What about those Jelly rooms in the Lair?

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 20th March 2012, 02:03

Re: Goddess of Drama

They start asleep, and not all jellies eat things.

Dungeon Master

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Post Tuesday, 20th March 2012, 02:38

Re: Goddess of Drama

Infinitum wrote:Don't forget you can still leave stuff around the main dungeon for future use (as well as lair/the vestibule as long as you haven't finished all subbranches). Leaving stuff behind closed doors is kind of safe as far as jellies are concerned, and thieve can be hunted down as well. I'm saying it feels like a Sif ability since she is thematically a Librarian (and imo somewhat boring in her current iteration). One idea for the stash is giving the player free access to the "backstage" area mentioned as a DE ability, but then further restrictions would be needed to be put in place to prevent it being another escape option


The point is if I'm mid-Shoals and I suddenly realise I've got enough spell points to memorise DMsl. I can't go back to D and get the book without losing piety. Which spell to learn is not necessarily a decision you can make 1000s of turns before you have the spell points. Sif gives you magic support abilities, this is nothing like that - Riefe is just helping you remember the words (I think it's a really strong theatre theme) but gives you no actual support in using them.

Infinitum wrote:Enact is different from Ex Machina in that it's better off used at the beginning of a battle when you can afford to waste a few turns powering it up. Having access to magical crowd control is probably needed to give the player early options to deal with Orc hordes and Hydras. As it is it's probably somewhat overpowered in that a few back to back activations is liable to either kill or incapacitate everything onscreen, at least in the early game (albeit a shortish duration and the piety cost might serve to prevent spam). Ex Machina slightly stepping on the toes of other god's domains is okay in my eyes, but I'll give that sanctuary is a rather non-spectacular use of the power and could be scrapped. Any more ideas what to replace it for?


The first issue with that is that sometimes Ex Machina will be better off used at the beginning of your fight. That's why it's an interesting feature - dependent on character, status, and situation you are facing there will be a deep decision about when/if to use it (and for some fights, if you have the piety to use it twice...).

It's nothing to do with overpoweredness. That can be balanced. I'm trying to look purely at a level of how much depth an idea has.

Infinitum wrote: The god doesn't really feel that weak to me as is now, you get free (and guaranteed relevant!) resists, crowd control and a few fairly powerful escape options in return for potentially having to tackle branch underleveled and not having a 100% safe place to store stuff in. Not Trog powerful (tm), but useful nonetheless and it does add variation to the pantheon.

I'm not saying I think the god is weak; quite the opposite, I think the god is strong without any additional powers. Contextual resists are very strong. Ex Machina is very strong. Spirit Choir is great flavour. I think some interesting-but-niche abilities could add something new in terms of depth and actual decisions, which is why I came up with Prompt and Exaggeration (both of which I still think could be really interesting combined with the other mechanics here!)

Infinitum wrote:I kinda like altering the dungeon layout to underline the raw power of the act though.


It's awesome in principle (I have an old spell idea somewhere on this forum that caused a similar effect). The question is can it be done in a way that isn't abusable (see Tomb spell) or outright killing the player (see Tomb spell).

Dungeon Master

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Post Tuesday, 20th March 2012, 14:34

Re: Goddess of Drama

I realised I slightly contradicted myself - what I'm saying is that the basic abilities are very strong in a support / tactical / flavour way. But the no-branch-hopping aspect will hurt primary casters pretty badly because:

a) You can't backtrack so you can't stash. This means you need to carry more consumables (in fact, probably *all* your consumables if you intend to survive branch ends...). The problem is that a primary caster tends to have low Str so inventory management is always much more of a problem. Normally you'd take just what you need, and re-stock before a branch end.

b) The second problem is spell management. As you progress through the game you need to regularly adjust your spell set depending on many things - changing conditions and branch requirements, new books you might find, meaning you want to diversify into other spell schools, improving failure rate meaning you can learn new and better spells, and of course simply more spell slots becoming available as you level up. Now, unless I'm carrying an entire library of books around with me, it's going to be very hard to do this effectively if I can't backtrack! (I also want some carrying capacity left to take loot away from the branch end, since I assume I will only get 1 chance to do that...)

So, this is the biggest problem I see with the proposal. Adding more combat support doesn't address this. In fact, combat support makes the god even more powerful for melee-ers whilst making almost no difference to casters. So if you intended your god to be drastically more useful to melee characters that's fine (although I would suddenly completely lose interest because, as much as I've tried, I just can't get into melee characters). I'm not saying that all gods should be strictly useful for all characters ... But thematically speaking I think Riefe should at least attempt to accommodate all walks of life. The nice thing about "Prompt" is it still gives a little help to non-magic characters whilst simultaneously providing a specific tool to help casters.

Mines Malingerer

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Post Tuesday, 20th March 2012, 20:20

Re: Goddess of Drama

Hey look, wiki page! I still haven't managed to figure out how to make lists without screwing up the index but I'm getting there. Pondering drastically reducing the OP of this thread to only provide a link and use this for discussion instead; good idea?

In light of the stash situation I also went ahead and wrote the main dungeon, eucumenical temple, treasure trove, bazaars and Zot out of the script altogether - they may all be entered or left at will (albeit leaving an unfinished branch will still incur penance) and Fortune of the Bold (new name for resistance giving ability) doesn't trigger in them. Practically this means you can stash stuff in the temple freely, finish the game with any number of runes without incurring penance and still use Zot as a experience stepping stone to the post-lategame. Still not keen on the prompt ability for this particular god for the same reason sacrificing books and scrolls doesn't work, but to each our own right? Wiki's right there =).

EDIT: Nver mind my previous questions; OP live on on the wiki now, and boy do I ever make lists like a suave motherexpletive.

Dungeon Master

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Post Wednesday, 21st March 2012, 18:53

Re: Goddess of Drama

Infinitum wrote:In light of the stash situation I also went ahead and wrote the main dungeon, eucumenical temple, treasure trove, bazaars and Zot out of the script altogether - they may all be entered or left at will (albeit leaving an unfinished branch will still incur penance) and Fortune of the Bold (new name for resistance giving ability) doesn't trigger in them. Practically this means you can stash stuff in the temple freely, finish the game with any number of runes without incurring penance and still use Zot as a experience stepping stone to the post-lategame. Still not keen on the prompt ability for this particular god for the same reason sacrificing books and scrolls doesn't work, but to each our own right? Wiki's right there =).


This doesn't solve the stash situation for me; it's still impossible to visit my stash mid-branch. And it still prevents using e.g. Lair or Vestibule for a slightly more convenient stash later on (of course many players will argue it's fine to just leave stuff anywhere on the floor, I've been trying to do this in my recent games, but for a lot of players a Lair stash is an ingrained habit).

Not sure what your reasoning is about Prompt; the problem with book sacrifice is that another god does it. A problem with either book or scroll sacrifice is I can't see why it fits the theme.

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Post Wednesday, 21st March 2012, 23:19

Re: Goddess of Drama

There's another problem that I just realised. Basically, a player can game the system by clearing most of the branches and a large part of D, then joining Riefe late just to storm the branch ends and get an immediate load of piety. And it also all depends on what your definition of "clearing a branch" is.

You can improve this by making the boon dependent on (your_xl - absolute_depth). But that still doesn't stop someone cheating the piety system.

Mines Malingerer

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Post Thursday, 22nd March 2012, 16:14

Re: Goddess of Drama

One workaround to that is to write any branch the player has previously visited out of the script (minus Pandemonium should there be Runes left in it I suppose). Another would be moving Enact to * or ** piety (which should probably be done anyhow, *** is kinda deep in) and split Fortune of the bold into 2 tiers (at, say, * and ***; there's currently 2 effects per branch so this could probably work).

Not sure that's needed thoutgh; as the piety gain is currently worded the player wouldn't get any piety for re-entering old levels, which means that unless the player intentionally left a lot of Uniques alive there wouldn't be many opportunities left to gain Piety except clearing the aforementioned Ends (at low piety, with god wrath from their previous god lingering). The way I see it a branch end is "finished" once the rune (if present) is collected or enough of the bottom floor is explored/most of the original enemies killed (whichever works best).

Then again, whilst conveting late solely to get the extra resists for some branches could be a viable strategy (Tomb and rMUT in Pan in particular), this would probably be more of a feature than anything (giving Zin/TSO/Nemelex some run for their money).

Dungeon Master

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Post Thursday, 22nd March 2012, 21:11

Re: Goddess of Drama

I'm not sure if that totally solves it (you can never predict how players are going to try and trick the system, or what players might consider "tricking the system" to mean!) But yes there are certainly steps that can be taken.

I've posted further feedback on the wiki, mainly existing issues I mentioned that you don't seem to have addressed, but I've gone into some extra detail.

Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Friday, 23rd March 2012, 18:51

Re: Goddess of Drama

I read the wiki description and I've come around more on the central idea of the god, though like mumra I'm not sure the abilities really come together yet into a good god idea. Prompt doesn't feel like a Sif Muna ability to me, and I'd say Prompt or something similar should be a given for this deity.

Stash management idea: Chekhov's Gun. "One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it." Costs MP and Piety, and can only be used a couple times during each branch, though perhaps as the branch is completed you get more uses out of it.
Riefe understands that a good narrative needs cohesion: introducing a plot element early on and then failing to use it later ruins the story. Accordingly, items that the player has found earlier can "turn up" later in the story, perhaps at just the right moment. Chekhov's Gun uses the stash search interface, and the player can choose an item (or maybe two or three, if there's enough piety) from elsewhere in the dungeons, even in another, completed, branch. The item is removed from its former place and brought to the current level, in a location out of the player's LoS, where they will soon stumble upon it and use it to save the day.

Mines Malingerer

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Post Friday, 23rd March 2012, 19:56

Re: Goddess of Drama

I don't really see the stash problem to be honest - there's the dungeon (and temple for people being paranoid about jellies) to store superflous stuff in as well as the Lair/Vestibule if you haven't cleared all associated branches there yet. I don't play pure casters so cannot really comment there but planning ahead on what spells you want to learn and bringing the corresponding book cannot be -that- hard.

Regarding the Chekhov's Stash suggestion, whilst it would be useful no doubt and could reduce dependence on spoilers it isn't really strictly needed. I mean it'd suck to helldive and suddenly not have access to levitation on Gehenna:7 but there aren't that many instances of such places in the game and learning to plan ahead the hard way is but one aspect of fun*. I feel that having downsides to choosing a god gets less interesting the more one tries to dilute them.

*Dwarf Fortress style. Your mileage may wary.

EDIT: Oh yeah, changed Enact around some. It now has a chance of simply enslave the audience (for a limited amount of turns) instead of pacifying them. I guess it is somewhat similar to Recite, but not taking 3 turns to take effect along with inflicting other statuses can go some way differentiating it.
Last edited by Infinitum on Friday, 23rd March 2012, 23:32, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Friday, 23rd March 2012, 23:27

Re: Goddess of Drama

Infinitum wrote:I don't really see the stash problem to be honest


The problem isn't with where you're going to stash.

The problem is that you can't leave branches until they're finished - so you can't go back to your stash until you've finished the branch.

Infinitum wrote:I don't play pure casters so cannot really comment there but planning ahead on what spells you want to learn and bringing the corresponding book cannot be -that- hard.


Wizards tend to have very low Str, so they can't carry a whole load of books, scrolls and potions with them - even if you could work out in advance exactly what you're going to need. Casters are pretty complex to begin with and adding an extra requirement of significant forward planning isn't very fun.

For instance, it could be a case of:

"Hmm ... I've just gained a free spell slot (by levelling up), that means I can now unlearn Venom Bolt and learn Poison Arrow (a much better spell). "

But to unlearn a spell you need a scroll of amnesia. Only a crazy player would carry those around with them; it's a rare scroll, you don't want to lose it. And like I said, a wizard with Str 4 can't exactly carry around every last scroll they might need anyway.

Other examples are detect / remove curse, and identify. Scrolls actually weigh quite a lot. Carrying a decent enough stack of them to make sure you don't get caught short is more weight (and you'll struggle to carry back all the loot you might want to take from branch ends).

I actually think it'll be a problem for some melee characters, not just casters. It's entirely depends on strength.

Infinitum wrote:Regarding the Chekhov's Stash suggestion, whilst it would be useful no doubt and could reduce dependence on spoilers it isn't really strictly needed. I mean it'd suck to helldive and suddenly not have access to levitation on Gehenna:7 but there aren't that many instances of such places in the game and learning to plan ahead the hard way is but one aspect of fun*. I feel that having downsides to choosing a god gets less interesting the more one tries to dilute them.


It's certainly true that the downsides are what make the gods interesting. (Gods with no downsides, like Sif, are pretty bland) Importantly, it's the interplay between the negatives and the positives that define the character and playstyle of the god. This is why I like the idea of elements that take the no-branch-hopping downside and twist it into a new mechanic. Neither of these ideas are strictly making things easier for the player - they come with a piety cost, so there is always a decision of "can I afford the piety right now, or should I save it for an Ex Machina?"

Planning ahead is one thing, and you have to do it all the time in Crawl to some extent or another. But you're asking players to plan in detail up to eight floors ahead, this is in a game which is by design completely randomised and you can never predict what's going to happen. There has to be a certain amount of give.

The other thing with this particular downside is it makes things really frustrating for magic-based characters, whereas melee players will barely feel it at all.

Personally I think Chekhov's Gun is a very cool idea, it's a lot more interesting than Prompt, and much less powerful at the same time because you still have to explore to find the item, and you're even exposing the item to jelly risk. You have to keep driving to story forward to get the item so it pushes Riefe's agenda forward. Very hard to implement properly though! Also I think I should provide the obligatory TV Tropes link for anyone reading this thread who hasn't heard of Chekhov's Gun.

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