Cross-school spellcasting is too easy


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Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 19th April 2011, 00:59

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

dpeg wrote: Punishing skill spread with skill slot loss still seems good to me.

Why? The classes with the most skill spread are Wizards, Transmuters, and Crusaders. How does punishing them in order to keep EEs from getting Deflect Missiles sound good to you? With that plan the only backgrounds that will be able to afford cross school utility spells are the very ones that are being cited as problems because their lack of cross school casting in their initial book allows them to pick and choose more effectively later on.

Mines Malingerer

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Post Tuesday, 19th April 2011, 04:59

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

It's true, spell slot systems don't solve all of the problems I've mentioned. A 2 slot penalty for deflect missiles isn't going to prevent anyone from taking it.

Making spells more dependent on power helps, but it's also possible that people will just grind the relevant school if a set of spells is good enough. Suddenly, you've got every character grinding Charms to 15 because the effect is actually worth it. It's sort of similar to Abjuration currently, which is so powerful that it alone justifies grinding summoning. The solution here might be to nerf these spells so that they're simply not worth the grinding cost for all characters, or provide flavorful alternatives...within reason. Imagine a non-summoning alternative to abjuration that similarly neutralizes summons, but in a different way - like causing high damage or preventing them from attacking at range. At least now it's either abjuration or this new spell that everyone will grab. This latter idea seems pretty off topic though, and is actually getting into something I previously said was bad (increasing homogeneity of schools)
Last edited by Cybermg on Tuesday, 19th April 2011, 23:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Tuesday, 19th April 2011, 14:41

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

Getting rid of the charms school might help. Most of the offending spells are charms. This means that just training charms gives access to many powerful spells. Most (but not all) charms are dual school and could simply be supported by the other school alone. Deflect missiles is made easier to cast (and hence better, more powerful) because of it's membership in charms. Were it only air, EE's would find it very hard to cast.

Also, elsewhere (https://crawl.develz.org/tavern/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1417&p=15482#p15482) dpeg suggested a change to spellcasting that would make cross-school casting harder: making power and success depend only on school skills. This and some spell power reform could be parsimonious solutions. I think hunger could move to school skills as well.

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Post Tuesday, 19th April 2011, 16:31

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

I really, Really like smock's suggestion to remove charms. Really. A lot. There is probably some completely obvious reason that it wouldn't work, but I don't see one. There is a small sticking point of the charms without a secondary school, like Haste, but those could temporarily be moved to Hexes as a stopgap measure. Apart from that, it seems like a very simple, easy-to-implement solution.

I'm not so sure about moving hunger to schools as well, especially if power and success are move off of spellcasting and the charm school is removed altogether. Both of those would nerf cross-school casting and casting in general in a big way. Moving hunger would nerf cross-casting even more. Also, it would be a new thing to code. Also, Spellcasting would become a "get as little of it as necessary" skill, which I'm not sure is a good thing. Training skills should be primarily beneficial, not merely required (Collect 100 Random Objects to receive a Plot Device!).
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Dungeon Master

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Post Tuesday, 19th April 2011, 17:04

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

Another idea: remove spellcasting from the power formula and int from the spell success formula.
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Post Tuesday, 19th April 2011, 17:05

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

Actually, most of the spells that are currently only Charms could possibly be moved to Transmutations, as the important ones are ones that work on the target's body - eg Haste transmutes you into something that looks the same but moves faster, Berserker Rage transmutes you into something really strong and angry etc.
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Post Tuesday, 19th April 2011, 17:58

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

Jeremiah wrote:Actually, most of the spells that are currently only Charms could possibly be moved to Transmutations, as the important ones are ones that work on the target's body - eg Haste transmutes you into something that looks the same but moves faster, Berserker Rage transmutes you into something really strong and angry etc.


It's all conceptual. Haste could just as easily alter the flow of time around you, and Berserker Rage could simply flip a switch in the pineal gland.
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Post Tuesday, 19th April 2011, 18:02

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

Agreed. I don't know that Transmutations is the de facto Not-Charms school, even though some Charms might fit.
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Post Tuesday, 19th April 2011, 18:25

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

galehar wrote:Another idea: remove spellcasting from the power formula and int from the spell success formula.

Yes. There is a wiki page where Eino and I discussed this, too. Currently, we have Spellcasting, Int and magical skills all affecting too many things at once. Reduction would help, we just need to choose which one. See https://crawl.develz.org/wiki/doku.php?id=dcss:brainstorm:misc:stats&s
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Post Tuesday, 19th April 2011, 18:30

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

For those of you only following one thread, there is similar discussion here under the topic of removing Spellcasting as a Skill.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 19th April 2011, 22:58

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

I'd like to point out that removing int from formulas would also be a pretty serious nerf to Demigods. I doubt Demigods need a nerf.

I've been giving the purported problems some thought. I agree most with buffing the underused utility spells of disparate spell schools and perhaps putting them deeper in their school's books. I don't think any spell school needs to be done away with entirely but utility spells do need to be redistributed/balanced/flavoured. Unfortunately, this solution sounds like the one that will take the most work.

There are 12 spell schools. There are plenty of utility effects to go around without the need to clump them in charms/air. For instance, we could change poison magic to be the spell school Alchemy as kind of a counterpart to transmutations. It could keep its poison based spells, but also get potion style buffs/spells like swiftness, berserk, fulsome distillation and make the poison resistance spell more useful as a potion of resistance (with whatever necessary balancing). Remove mephitic cloud entirely, maybe keep evaporate (maybe not) but as an alchemy/hexes with the spell power balancing that's already been discussed. Clear out some of the other cruft in the poison spell camp.

Make spider form transmutations only, but increase the penalty to spell casting while in spider form so that it doesnt become the new easy to pick up swiftness. Change condensation shield to a transmutations based exoskeleton/scale/bone plate spell that would work with forms and provide shielding. Give it flavor based on the form with bonuses from both transmutations and the spell school of the form. Give transmutations more forms and something that can handle a little crowd control since they'd be losing evaporate (though really, making spider form single school may be enough to handle that). Buff dragon form.

Air can keep repel/deflect missiles, but make the duration heavily dependent on air. Make phase shift a level 4 translocation/charms spell, but scale the EV bonus with translocations skill school. Keep haste in charms.

I just threw alot of ideas out there and I realize they may not all work, or may not all work together. but I didn't want to just be the guy that foo foos other's ideas without presenting alternatives.

Mines Malingerer

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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 00:23

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

I'm going to make a separate topic about removing the charms school, since I feel like there's a lot of discussion to be had exclusive to that, and there's a lot of potential in the idea.

Spider Stomper

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Post Monday, 25th April 2011, 23:37

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

In my opinion, restricting spell slots for multischoolers or changing around the magic schools does not address the real problem in the magic system, which is that the availability of a spell currently depends on the caster's experience level. This makes it possible for experienced casters to pick up lower-level spells in any other school; everyone ends up with the same spells because anyone can get them. And to me personally, it is unintuitive: it feels like a spellcaster's ability to learn spells should depend on their skill in casting, or their skill in casting the type of spell they are trying to learn. (Side note: does it really make sense that a level 5 warrior with no experience in magic has a better chance (very low chance) to learn a lvl5 spell than a level 4 wizard (zero chance)?)

So instead, why not make ability to learn spells depend on the caster's level in the relevant schools? Each spell would have not only one school or more, but levels associated with each of those schools. If your caster is not at each of those levels in the spell's listed skills, then he cannot learn the spell.

e.g. (numbers off the top of my head; the numbers, as well as the schools that spells have, would require significant tweaking)
Swiftness - lvl2 Air, lvl1 Enchantment
Repel Missiles - lvl2 Enchantment, lvl1 Air
Mephitic Cloud - lvl3 Air, lvl2 Conjuration, lvl2 Poison

In this case, Swiftness would require the caster to be at lvl2 in Air and lvl1 in Enchantment, while Repel Missiles would require lvl1 and lvl2 in these skills respectively, and so on.

Then we have an intuitive and fair penalty for learning spells from a variety of schools: you would need experience in these skills, which would hinder your getting higher experience in fewer schools. The player can then decide whether practicing these skills to get a certain spell would be worth foregoing practicing his main spellcasting skills to get more powerful spells there.

I believe that determining the availability of spells not with XL but through experience in the school of the spell is the most direct solution to the problem. With appropriate balancing, it will provide a simple, transparent system that offers players equally viable choices between specializing and multischooling. Fiddling around with spell slots seems like an arbitrary, confusing hack compared to emphasizing the strengths and drawbacks intrinsic to being a jack of all trades or a master of few.

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Post Tuesday, 26th April 2011, 01:50

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

ElectricAlbatross wrote:In this case, Swiftness would require the caster to be at lvl2 in Air and lvl1 in Enchantment, while Repel Missiles would require lvl1 and lvl2 in these skills respectively, and so on.


Two problems come to mind. First, you can still raise a magic skill high enough to cast any basic buff you want with the xp from a couple stone giants or a yaktaur pack. So, still a trivial cost.

Also, it's a bit hard to raise your magic skills to level 2 or level 4 or whatever if you don't know any magic that trains that skill. Many magic schools have a grand total of ONE 1st-level spell, which is often a rare spell appearing in only one particular book. Charms happens to have ZERO 1st-level spells, so under your proposal it would be flat-out impossible to pick up any charms unless you started with skill or found a manual.

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Post Tuesday, 26th April 2011, 12:45

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

ElectricAlbatross raises a good point (XL giving slots being a problem) but why not take the simplest solution: compute spell slots from Spellcasting skill alone. Since we want to restrict spell slots somewhat anyway, we don't have to shove the exact amount of currently XL-deduced slots into Spellcasting.
Currently: slots = 2*Spc + XL -1
I believe that slots = 2*Spc + 1 would be enough to start testing.

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Mines Malingerer

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Post Tuesday, 26th April 2011, 16:44

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

dpeg wrote:ElectricAlbatross raises a good point (XL giving slots being a problem) but why not take the simplest solution: compute spell slots from Spellcasting skill alone. Since we want to restrict spell slots somewhat anyway, we don't have to shove the exact amount of currently XL-deduced slots into Spellcasting.
Currently: slots = 2*Spc + XL -1
I believe that slots = 2*Spc + 1 would be enough to start testing.

Maybe also add (Intelligence - 10)?
It makes sense that somebody with more brains can remember more...

Mines Malingerer

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Post Tuesday, 26th April 2011, 18:41

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

minmay wrote:Items give you bonuses and penalties to your intelligence, so that won't really work unless you base it on "naked" intelligence score (in which case it is inconsistent).

That shouldn't be a concern at all - right now it depends on XL, and you can lose that already (via draining attacks) - it should only check it while you are memorizing the spells.
Rather, it is a new and interesting bonus for Potions of Brilliance.

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Post Tuesday, 26th April 2011, 19:12

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

KoboldLord wrote:
ElectricAlbatross wrote:In this case, Swiftness would require the caster to be at lvl2 in Air and lvl1 in Enchantment, while Repel Missiles would require lvl1 and lvl2 in these skills respectively, and so on.


Two problems come to mind. First, you can still raise a magic skill high enough to cast any basic buff you want with the xp from a couple stone giants or a yaktaur pack. So, still a trivial cost.

Also, it's a bit hard to raise your magic skills to level 2 or level 4 or whatever if you don't know any magic that trains that skill. Many magic schools have a grand total of ONE 1st-level spell, which is often a rare spell appearing in only one particular book. Charms happens to have ZERO 1st-level spells, so under your proposal it would be flat-out impossible to pick up any charms unless you started with skill or found a manual.


As I said, my idea would require a certain amount of tweaking to balance; that would probably entail both raising levels on useful spells, so that the experience needed to attain them is non-trivial, and (not so sure on this one) adding very weak "level 0" spells that can be attempted by novices to the field (I'm reminded of Discworld MUD, where most of the first spells that you can cast as a magic user are totally useless). But that could be problematic, in that players would have to grind level 0 spells in order to gain skills in the school that they want.

So while my idea would give real meaning to experience distribution by making it directly determine spell availability, I'm not sure whether developers and the community would be interested in putting in the effort to properly balance such a system, or whether it's worth the effort at all. In the meantime, basing spell slots on just Spellcasting and maybe Int (per dpeg) is simpler and solves a number of problems and I would fully support that change.

Mines Malingerer

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Post Tuesday, 26th April 2011, 20:27

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

minmay wrote:You cannot use equipment to temporarily boost your XL in order to learn new spells. By contrast, there are rings, randarts, and many other things with intelligence bonuses; we don't want "stack up every stat bonus in the dungeon" to be a prerequisite for learning more spells.


Well, you've got a point there...
It's just that it's plain weird that the most obvious stat to affect the amount you can remember is not used for that at all.

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Post Wednesday, 27th April 2011, 13:10

Re: Cross-school spellcasting is too easy

minmay wrote:
SinsI wrote:That shouldn't be a concern at all - right now it depends on XL, and you can lose that already (via draining attacks) - it should only check it while you are memorizing the spells.
Rather, it is a new and interesting bonus for Potions of Brilliance.

You cannot use equipment to temporarily boost your XL in order to learn new spells. By contrast, there are rings, randarts, and many other things with intelligence bonuses; we don't want "stack up every stat bonus in the dungeon" to be a prerequisite for learning more spells.

Right, let's not have it so that if you lose a level or two to draining, you lose not only the available spell slots, but any spells that are occupying those slots. Nethack actually does this with weapon/spell skill slots when you lose XLs -- the most recent skill #enhance'd gets lost.

And in regard to temporary Int boosts for learning spells, this was a common mechanism used in Diablo 1, where the ability to improve a spell depended directly on modified Int. With the three classes having different caps on naked Int, this was an effective means of limiting spell power on the fighting classes -- but Warriors and Rogues could "put on their reading glasses" with big Int boosters and get another couple of levels in spells that they would not otherwise be able to get.
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