New branches: holy, spriggan, (deep) dwarfen


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 Thursday, 17th January 2013, 20:20

New branches: holy, spriggan, (deep) dwarfen

Have you been thinking about adding new branches to the game? I think DC has a potential to do this. Since more branches means more fun, this might greatly improve the playability.
There are a lot of already coded monsters, which could be used for it. The new branches doesn`t have to contain any runes, since - as far as I know - the ultimate number of them is 15, but may contain some loot instead (a random loot, so there might be pretty good stuff, if you`re lucky, or some junks as well, if you`re not). Also, since they have no runes, they doesn`t need to contain any bosses. All in all, these branches need to be hard, because hard is fun.

1. I`m particularly curious about a Holy Branch - a sort of Heaven; let`s call it Aaru here. (See the Aaru from Egyptian Mythology). It can be populated by the holy-themed monsters (Angels, Apises, Cherubs, Daevas, Holy Swines, Ophans, Paladins, Pearl Dragons, Phoenixes, Seraphs, Shedus, Silver Stars and Spirits). Yes, I know that some of theme (Spirit) were removed from the game, but the code still exists and just can`t wait to use it.
The Aaru might contain some loot (especially holy weapon, scrolls of Holy Word and other holy stuff, but especially a gold). It might be two- or three-level deep branch found somewhere on the deepest levels of the dungeon, like 20-26 (or the entrance to this branch may be found on the last level of the Lair, since there`s also an entrance to Vestibule of Hell).
Something has to be done to prevent dealing with this branch too easily with TSO (since holy creatures inhabiting the branch wouldn`t probably attack you when worshipping him). It can be solved in several ways, for example: "TSO prohibits violating (entering into) his domain". If you decide to to enter, you`re automatically excommunicated.
The particular effect of this holy branch is the Holy Word, so if you`re a Demonspawn, you better be careful entering there.
Since there can not be any Zot traps (because of the "holy" layout), there might be a few other hard-hitting traps.

2. There are also a lot of Spriggan types in the game; might be suitable for spriggan branch (I can`t think of any name for this branch). As for the location, this might be an Orc sub-branch for example. The overlay (connectiveness) of Spriggan branch (= construction of levels) may be quite similar to the Orc branch (except that the monsters are different). If done well (a lot of traps, spriggans with asphyx weapon etc.), this might be even harder than the actual Orc branch.
Here`s my concept for this (eventual) branch: an example layout of the first level.
  Code:
############################################
##############  ############################
#####>    ###   ##     #####################
#######                 <   ################
####                             ###########
#####                    ###################
####   #####    ############################
##### #######        >######################
##### ######### ############################
##### #     ### ###############        #####
##              ###########          #######
###   <       ###############     >  #######
####        ###################     ########
######     #####################   #########
####    ##########@@@@@#####################
##################@ T @#####################
##################@ < @#####################
##################@@@@@#####################
############################################
############################################
############################################
# - regular wall
@ - indestructible wall
< - stairs up (out of the vault)
> - stairs down (another level)
T - teleport

A typical scenario on a typical layout: when you go down to the vault and all you see is a teleport (T) surrounded by hardened walls (@); all you can do is to get the teleport or get out the branch. This is to prevent dealing with the branch too easily. OK, you decide to get in the teleport; you`ve been teleported onto the crowd of asphyx equipped spriggans. Since there are too many of them, and you see a stairs leading down (to 2nd level of this branch), you decide to temporarily escape to the deeper level.
The indestructible walls/teleport enter is mandatory, the rest of the level is random.

There might be two or three levels of spriggan vault. The last (second? third?) would be populated with a lot of hardest-hitting spriggans, possibly equipped with some good spriggan-style weapon, guarding some loot (there might be even some Zot traps as well).
The difficulty of Spriggan Branch would be somewhere between Orcish and Elven branches. According to the general difficulty, there should not be as much loot as in the Elven branch. Instead of the loot, it may contain only shops on the last level (as much of them as in Orc vault).

3. and 4. There might be also a Vampire branch (for example might be a sub-branch of the Crypt, for example) and the Deep Dwarf branch (this branch might be found in one of the lower levels, like 16-20, or might be sub-branch of the Elven Halls).

For this message the author adamo901 has received thanks:
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Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Thursday, 17th January 2013, 20:28

Re: New branches: holy, spriggan, (deep) dwarfen

1) There's some holy-themed levels in Pan. It's probably not enough to build a whole branch around, though perhaps it might work as a portal.
2) There's already an Enchanted Forest branch full of Spriggans in the works, and a dwarven halls branch full of deep dwarves. I'm not sure what the status is on those, though, they might be stalled.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 17th January 2013, 20:29

Re: New branches: holy, spriggan, (deep) dwarfen

I personally find it hard to believe that anyone who has actually faced a deep dwarf zig wants more deep dwarf enemies in the game.

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Halls Hopper

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Post Thursday, 17th January 2013, 20:40

Re: New branches: holy, spriggan, (deep) dwarfen

I personally find it hard to believe that anyone who has actually faced a deep dwarf zig wants more deep dwarf enemies in the game

Since it does not contain a rune, but only a loot, it`s not mandatory to go inside. Besides, the deep dwarf branch doesn`t have to be as hard as deep dwaf zig 25th level.

There's some holy-themed levels in Pan (...)

There`s also mummies-type, dragon-type and Pan-type levels of Zig.

(...) it`s probably not enough to build a whole branch around

There are a lot of holy creatures in the game, a lot more than types of Orcs, which has it`s own branch.
Last edited by adamo901 on Thursday, 17th January 2013, 20:41, edited 1 time in total.

Vestibule Violator

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Post Thursday, 17th January 2013, 20:40

Re: New branches: holy, spriggan, (deep) dwarfen

Let's have a big room. We'll call it "The Big Room." It will be full of imps for some reason and lots of loot. It should spawn early and be a giant open space.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 17th January 2013, 20:51

Re: New branches: holy, spriggan, (deep) dwarfen

Have you actually fought deep dwarves? The problem is that they're not hard. In fact they pretty much can't kill you unless you kill yourself on them. If they killed you they would be much better enemies than they are right now.

Dungeon Master

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Post Thursday, 17th January 2013, 20:51

Re: New branches: holy, spriggan, (deep) dwarfen

Whoever set up the account and thanked adamo901 is obnoxious. It's people like you who ruin the forum.

adamo901: Yes, there are such ideas, and they aren't really rare. The development wiki and also this forum are full of ideas for new branches. Some comments:
  • Setting up a new branch is a lot of work. First, there needs to be a concept; then there should be a diverse layout with sufficiently different and interesting monsters. After that, there is a lot of work with balancing and polishing the thing. Shoals took three releases, if I remember correctly. Spider took more than one as well.
  • In order to avoid the power spiral (more monsters, more xp, more loot), new branches will most probably go into rotation (as has happened with the Lair subbranches). That also means that rune or no rune is not a serious issue.
  • Since shutting out followers of good gods from a branch (as you suggest with Aaru) is not a good idea, the current solution as a Pan level is probably the best we can get for a while.
  • There is no need to start with a full-fledged branch. If you want to go ahead (with the Spriggan idea, say, because that's most novel), then just make up a portal vault. That's some work, but it's not out of reach. The level builder documentation explains how, and you can copy from existing portal vaults. That allows you (and us!) to actually play with it. I am not sure it'd be a lot of fun to tele-bump through a bunch of orc-style bubbles but perhaps something might come out of it.

For this message the author dpeg has received thanks:
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Slime Squisher

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Post Thursday, 17th January 2013, 21:04

Re: New branches: holy, spriggan, (deep) dwarfen

The thing with branches is that having a good solid idea behind them is by far the easiest of things to do, and the last thing players will worry about when playing it,

Also, I agree that dude is obnoxious and NO THANKS NO NEED TO THANK ME

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 17th January 2013, 21:08

Re: New branches: holy, spriggan, (deep) dwarfen

dpeg wrote:Whoever set up the account and thanked adamo901 is obnoxious. It's people like you who ruin the forum.

Pereza0 wrote:Also, I agree that dude is obnoxious and NO THANKS NO NEED TO THANK ME

Don't feed the trolls.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Thursday, 17th January 2013, 21:26

Re: New branches: holy, spriggan, (deep) dwarfen

It would be awesome if it was implemented in some future releases of DC, though it`s certainly a lot of work. Especially the holy brand/vault and the dwarfen castle, of course if it`s balanced well. No problem if it`s impossible.

I don`t know what`s about the issue with giving/getting thanks signs - I don`t know how to disable receiving them in my profile.
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Barkeep

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Post Thursday, 17th January 2013, 21:30

Re: New branches: holy, spriggan, (deep) dwarfen

I'm with dpeg; I've banned BAD POST THANKER. If you want to be a jerk, at least do it from your ordinary forum account.
I am not a very good player. My mouth is a foul pit of LIES. KNOW THIS.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Thursday, 17th January 2013, 21:43

Re: New branches: holy, spriggan, (deep) dwarfen

OK, so how can I disable giving/receiving thanx signs? I don`t want and don`t need to receive it not to read comments like above in a topic that`s not related to the main issue.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Joined: Friday, 6th January 2012, 18:45

Post Thursday, 17th January 2013, 21:53

Re: New branches: holy, spriggan, (deep) dwarfen

You can't. Don't worry about it. The problem lies with someone else, not you.

Temple Termagant

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Post Thursday, 17th January 2013, 23:28

Re: New branches: holy, spriggan, (deep) dwarfen

The spriggan idea sounds cool, but I think it would work best as a portal like Bailey, Volcano, etc since increasing branch count can be bad. I don't really know about a fix for a holy or dwarf problems.

Forcing a stairdive is interesting but if you don't want to allow retreat, it's probably easiest to do something like this:
  Code:
####++####
#...i...i#
#........#
##########
#...^....#
####..####
   #..#   
   #..#   
   #/.#
   ####


where the ^ is a teleport trap across a glass wall.

This way you can have the same idea but not need to have multiple floors.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Friday, 18th January 2013, 01:00

Re: New branches: holy, spriggan, (deep) dwarfen

I was thinking about the teleport with destination, but the regular teleport sounds better (you never know where you`ll be teleported, so it adds randomisation factor).

I tried to read something about coding the vaults, but it still seems very difficult to me. This method you can code whole parts of the levels.

Maybe adding branches was not a good idea.
Yeah, timed portals sounds great. Something that remind a bailey. As the poor version of branch, I guess they could be way easier to be coded. Plus, because they`re timed, there would be no big problem with balancing the difficulty. As for the regular branch, you can omit it and return when ready; for the timed portal you just get or forget. A timed portal could be set to certain variety of levels (ex. D:18-22). If you recognise already existing portal to be harder or easier than previously intended, you can just change its appearing place.
For example, I think that an (eventual) holy timed portal should be placed around levels 20-22. And that`s how I would balance the difficulty for. But if the designer changes his mind or people complains that it`s too hard/to easy as for its place of appearance (portal finally turned out to be harder or easier than intended), there`s no need to rebuild the whole portal or make it from the scratch; the only thing that has to be changed is its appearance location (to the deeper or higher levels of dungeon).
Spriggan timed portal should be located respectively higher, if made easy (on the first few levels). If it`s harder, it might be located somewhere in the Orcish Mines.
These portals may or may not contain a loot or a shops; random luck. There might be a trash as well.
A probability of appearing themed timing portals in the game would be certainly low (20-25% of games).

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