Sif Muna suggestions.


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 Friday, 1st April 2011, 02:07

Sif Muna suggestions.

Justification:
The removal of Selective Amnesia as a spell and addition of ?amnesia has gotten me thinking about spell slot management as a subgame, similar to food management, Ashenzari's curse management, etc. Given the very reasonable drop rate of ?amnesia and duplicate spellbooks, I have trouble seeing Sif Muna's amnesia granted ability as a particularly compelling reason to pick her as a diety; I may be talking out of my ass on this, but it doesn't seem like Sif really changes the game for her worshipers. ('Okawaru syndrome,' if you will.)
End justification.

Suggestion:
Sif Muna grants a new ability, Focus. Focus activates to permanently decrease fail rate, MP and hunger prices of a known spell at the cost of doubling the spell slots that it takes up. It can be applied to multiple spells and/or multiple times to the same spell. An amnesia-like ability targeting a Focused spell doesn't remove it in entirety, instead decreasing the Focus count by one.

This granted ability would certainly turn Sif into a game-changing diety. At the cost of flexibility-- currently Sif's only selling point-- a conjurer could specialize into a single-spell chaingun, a crusader could stop burning a double cheeseburger worth of calories on every Deflect Missiles, or a generalist mage could cherrypick a high-level spell in a school they never want anything else out of.

It would also give worshipers something to do with their piety besides ignoring it to get spellbooks.
End suggestion.
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Post Friday, 1st April 2011, 02:33

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

As I understood it, remove selective amnesia was supposed to make Sif a stronger choice. Players who want to have a very flexible spell list are now forced to go Sif, or trawl the abyss / Pan for replacement books / amnesia scrolls when they burn through the ones the have.

You're also selling Sif short: you overlooked Her other two big advantages. Sif's channeling is superior to crystal balls of energy, staff of energy, and sublimation of blood as means of mp restoration. Vehumet's mp for kills is the only thing better, but less so if you're not playing a pure caster. Also, Sif protects you from miscast effects of all schools. This is very useful, especially if you're trying to cast otherwise dangerous spells early.

I dislike the flavor of your suggested ability. Sif's all about generalism and knowledge: She wants you to learn as much as can about as much as you can. Sacrificing potential knowledge to become more adept in one field is the antithesis of Her flavor. (She's clearly a physics major, not an engineer :p)

Also, I'm not convinced your proposal would promote interesting choices, it seems much more likely it would become a no brainier to overpower a few deadly spells at the cost of everything else.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Friday, 1st April 2011, 07:32

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

mageykun wrote:Sif's channeling is superior to crystal balls of energy, staff of energy, and sublimation of blood as means of mp restoration. Vehumet's mp for kills is the only thing better, but less so if you're not playing a pure caster.


One turn spent using a crystal ball allows the user to continue fighting; one Sif channel reliably lets you blink. Staff of Channeling is indeed worse. Sublimation is much preferable assuming chunks are available. I haven't played Vehumet for a while, but last time I did his MP/kill was almost unnoticeable (TSO and Makhleb are very good, though.) I consider MP/kill gods better for hybrids, as they run out of MP faster than straight mages and can kill things without spending MP.

mageykun wrote:Also, Sif protects you from miscast effects of all schools. This is very useful, especially if you're trying to cast otherwise dangerous spells early.


It is only useful for trying to cast spells you can't reliably cast. It doesn't affect miscast effects you didn't generate yourself, and failing a spell at good or better seems to have an overwhelming chance to bestow a tiny amount of glow or do nothing.
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Post Friday, 1st April 2011, 07:47

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

roguelikedev wrote:One turn spent using a crystal ball allows the user to continue fighting;

If it doesn't paralyse you or any other awful side effect.

roguelikedev wrote:one Sif channel reliably lets you blink.

I guess reliability is what makes it better.

roguelikedev wrote:It is only useful for trying to cast spells you can't reliably cast. It doesn't affect miscast effects you didn't generate yourself, and failing a spell at good or better seems to have an overwhelming chance to bestow a tiny amount of glow or do nothing.

Any miscast can be nasty. Even when casting at excellent.
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Spider Stomper

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Post Friday, 1st April 2011, 08:23

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

I agree Sif's power is less useful now. Fact is, you find enough amnesia scrolls, almost no builds need to juggle spells all that often. Before, you at least had to find a book with selective amnesia, i.e., it was either switch as much as you need, or don't switch at all for non-Sifmunites. Now it's switch as much as you need for everyone.

A better power in the same vein would be simply to increase the number of spell slots. With forced spell amnesia as a wrath effect, it wouldn't be abusable.

If Sif is to be boosted/changed, it needs to happen in such a way that it doesn't boost attack spells too much, as that is Vehumet's domain. So decreased hunger costs, etc. is not a good idea.
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Spider Stomper

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Post Friday, 1st April 2011, 13:19

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

Sif is supposed to be the generalist spellcasting god. So why not have Sif reward characters for having different schools memorized. Have Sif grant 2 extra spell slots for each school the character has memorized. This allows worshipers to have a more diverse range of spells no matter the abundance of ?amnesia or other means of forgetting and relearning spells.

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Post Friday, 1st April 2011, 13:28

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

While it is true that Sif doesn't change gameplay a lot Sif is actually a pretty powerful god. Not overpowered, but powerful. In other words, yes, Sif has Okawaru syndrome, but I don't see people talking about buffing Okawaru. Also Okawaru syndrome is not necessarily bad. Not every god needs to provide abilities that solve the game on their own like Makhleb or Nemelex. It's fine if some gods just boost the natural power progression.

Anyway, because Sif is not underpowered a new ability that makes Sif more powerful should be compensated for with a nerf. The easiest nerf would be removing selective amnesia, because it's not very flavorful (Sif helps with removing knowledge?) and actually using it is stupid anyway. You get less books that way. Just use one of the many useless books Sif gave you to forget instead. No piety cost, and the next book Sif gives you might actually be useful. By that reasoning removing it wouldn't be much of a nerf, so alternate suggestion: tone down the book gifts. If a cool new suggestion also introduces a piety drain that competes with book gifts that's also great.

Something that would be useful and flavorful in my opinion is a bonus for training many magic schools. For example all your magic skill levels could be raised to half the level of your 4th highest magic skill. This would turn someone who already is going the generalist route into a super duper generalist and provide some incentive to stay with sif other than book gifts. Example: Conjurations 16, Charms 12, Fire 12, Air 9, Poison 5, 4 or less in everything else ==> everything else acts like level 4 even if it is actually level 0. This would let the char use ice and earth conjurations more easily, give access to a few of those nice low level necro spells, reliable blink, etc. Of course if you actually use these spells on a regular basis the skill level will quickly raise to 4 anyway, but the bonus would help a lot with getting into a new spell school.
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Post Friday, 1st April 2011, 13:33

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

I think we're overlooking the obvious, here. If right now there's a glut of amnesia scrolls sufficient to devalue Sif, then there need to be less amnesia scrolls.
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Post Friday, 1st April 2011, 14:28

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

Galefury wrote:The easiest nerf would be removing selective amnesia, because it's not very flavorful (Sif helps with removing knowledge?) and actually using it is stupid anyway. You get less books that way. Just use one of the many useless books Sif gave you to forget instead. No piety cost, and the next book Sif gives you might actually be useful.

Sif hates it when you destroy books. Not only will it costs you piety (more than selective amnesia), but you'll also get penance. Decreasing the availability of scrolls of amnesia would make the ability more powerful.
Also, no skill boost for Sif. We already have Oka's heroism, and soon we'll have Ash for that too.
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Post Friday, 1st April 2011, 14:29

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

mageykun wrote:I think we're overlooking the obvious, here. If right now there's a glut of amnesia scrolls sufficient to devalue Sif, then there need to be less amnesia scrolls.


... or the option to forget spells by destroying a book needs to be gone.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Saturday, 2nd April 2011, 07:05

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

galehar wrote:
roguelikedev wrote:one Sif channel reliably lets you blink.

I guess reliability is what makes it better.


I'd probably get more established characters if I didn't feel this way, but I can't call an ability "better" solely because it has a lower chance of killing my character. Crystal ball of energy is overwhelmingly powerful and extremely dangerous, so every use is a decision. Sif channel is a trickle of free MP and an irritatingly high hunger cost; the decision there (for me) is "do I want to invest 12 or 16 ranks in a skill which significantly increases the amount of real-life time I spend resting off red sickness instead of playing the game."

galehar wrote: Any miscast can be nasty. Even when casting at excellent.


You obviously know the code better than I do, but I think I'd remember suffering a meaningful miscast at excellent. Can you give me an example?

zasvid wrote:... or the option to forget spells by destroying a book needs to be gone.


I prefer forgetting via book to ?amnesia; it turns duplicate spellbooks into actual loot.
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Post Saturday, 2nd April 2011, 10:18

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

roguelikedev wrote:
galehar wrote:
roguelikedev wrote:one Sif channel reliably lets you blink.

I guess reliability is what makes it better.


I'd probably get more established characters if I didn't feel this way, but I can't call an ability "better" solely because it has a lower chance of killing my character. Crystal ball of energy is overwhelmingly powerful and extremely dangerous, so every use is a decision. Sif channel is a trickle of free MP and an irritatingly high hunger cost; the decision there (for me) is "do I want to invest 12 or 16 ranks in a skill which significantly increases the amount of real-life time I spend resting off red sickness instead of playing the game."

galehar wrote: Any miscast can be nasty. Even when casting at excellent.


You obviously know the code better than I do, but I think I'd remember suffering a meaningful miscast at excellent. Can you give me an example?

Well, actually I didn't check the source before saying that. Now that I did, I'm not sure, the formula is far from obvious. It looks like high power spells have a high chance of nasty effect, even if success chance is high. Anyway, the point is that miscast are often harmless, but a nasty one at a bad time and things can really turn ugly.
Back on topic; Sif powers might seem underwhelming "on average". But when playing a roguelike, if you "take your chance" often, sometimes you'll fail. And when you do, you die. So getting rid of the worst cases, even if they are rare, is powerful.
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Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Saturday, 2nd April 2011, 10:35

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

Sif powers might seem underwhelming "on average". But when playing a roguelike, if you "take your chance" often, sometimes you'll fail. And when you do, you die. So getting rid of the worst cases, even if they are rare, is powerful.

So true.

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Post Saturday, 2nd April 2011, 17:00

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

Sif's channeling may be superior with proper skill, but you need to get invocations if you want more than a few MP, whereas the others use the more useful evocations.

Anyway, here's a thought: how about giving Sif users a skill to reduce an enemy's MR, with power based on the invocations skill and resistible by HD . There's been a problem of hexes becoming useless, but scrolls of vulnerability are limited and double-edged. It fits Sif's flavor as a generalist god, and makes Sif less of a god that you pick up then forget about.
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Post Saturday, 2nd April 2011, 17:02

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

Tiber wrote:Sif's channeling may be superior with proper skill, but you need to get invocations if you want more than a few MP, whereas the others use the more useful evocations.

Anyway, here's a thought: how about giving Sif users a skill to reduce an enemy's MR, with power based on the invocations skill and resistible by HD . There's been a problem of hexes becoming useless, but scrolls of vulnerability are limited and double-edged. It fits Sif's flavor as a generalist god, and makes Sif less of a god that you pick up then forget about.

Then you'd be forced to pick sif to play en enchanter. We want a more general solution to the hexes problem.
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Post Saturday, 2nd April 2011, 17:17

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

True, but figuring out how to re-balance hexes and MR is an ongoing debate, and to some degree affects virtually every enemy in the game. I was thinking of this as a somewhat less drastic way of giving a small buff to hexes and at the same time making Sif more interesting, if a solution to that problem can't be found or would take a long time to balance/implement.

Hmm, another idea is that Sif could passively extend the effect of certain spells such as buffs, brands and summons by a small amount.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Saturday, 2nd April 2011, 17:59

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

minmay wrote:
roguelikedev wrote:the decision there (for me) is "do I want to invest 12 or 16 ranks in a skill which significantly increases the amount of real-life time I spend resting off red sickness instead of playing the game."

You've never needed to regain MP in or around combat? That's pretty impressive. Are you sure you're playing casters?


Spoiler:
Sif Muna's channel restores MP at the cost of hunger. Using this knowledge, plus my complaint about hunger cost, one may deduce that I use it to restore MP.
End sarcasm. I mean spoiler.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Saturday, 2nd April 2011, 18:17

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

A different idea entirely-- my complaints with Channel Energy are threefold:

1. It costs too much nutrition for "all the time" use.
2. It does too little for "ace in the hole" use.
3. It relies on invocations, so using it effectively requires an XP investment.

The first two are related to the ability's power, and making things more powerful seems unpopular in the current context, so I'll ignore them. Part 3, however, is ripe for change. Funneling XP into invocations detracts from the XP available to improve spell skills (and gain piety/books), which runs directly contrary to Sif Muna's flavor. If Sif is meant to be the generalist magician's religion of choice, how about basing Channel Energy performance on the total skill ranks across all spell schools?

If we wanted to reward breadth of knowledge even more, we could scale that down based on character level, or highest skill, or any number of other factors.

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Post Saturday, 2nd April 2011, 18:23

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

roguelikedev wrote: Funneling XP into invocations detracts from the XP available to improve spell skills (and gain piety/books), which runs directly contrary to Sif Muna's flavor. If Sif is meant to be the generalist magician's religion of choice, how about basing Channel Energy performance on the total skill ranks across all spell schools?


That's a good point, players are doubly piety taxed by using Channel Energy - there's a piety cost and there's piety you won't gain because you increase your invocations instead of magic skills.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Saturday, 2nd April 2011, 20:50

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

Channel Energy has no piety cost.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Sunday, 3rd April 2011, 04:31

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

minmay wrote:
roguelikedev wrote:3. It relies on invocations, so using it effectively requires an XP investment.

Just like everything else in the game that isn't a consumable.


I assume that this is a thinly veiled personal attack, but on the off chance that you are serious: Trog, Fedhas, Kikubaaqudgha, Chei's Slouch, breath attacks...
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Post Sunday, 3rd April 2011, 04:46

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

If you think someone's making a personal attack, please don't call them out on it. Just report the post and one of us mods will deal with it if we see a problem.

Trog is a special case. He explicitly doesn't rely on invocations, as part of his flavor. That, and if his abilities were xp dependent, it would be an unnecessary buff. 'Zerkers have xp to burn, and it would be more than worth spending it to keep the success rate in brothers in arms higher longer (right now your burn piety fast enough that after a few casts you're down to fair). And training berserk to be better would get ridiculous real fast.

Fedhas' abilities require invocations training for sucess rates, as does Kiku's corpse drop, and all of Chie's powers. All god abilities require training of invocations- that's the point of the skill!

Racial and mutant abilities don't require invocations because you're not invoking the power of a God- you're doing it yourself.

Minmay's point was that most everything in the game requires an xp investment to be useful, so the fact that channel energy does as well is not a valid a valid criticism.

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Post Sunday, 3rd April 2011, 06:09

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

Kiku's corpse drop relies on Necromancy, and the biggest effect is on the corpse quantity and quality

Nemelex also doesn't use invocations (Nemelex uses evocations)

On those notes, it would make sense for Sif's ability to use Spellcasting, but only if it had a good gameplay effect.
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Post Sunday, 3rd April 2011, 10:26

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

MrMisterMonkey wrote:Kiku's corpse drop relies on Necromancy, and the biggest effect is on the corpse quantity and quality

Nemelex also doesn't use invocations (Nemelex uses evocations)

On those notes, it would make sense for Sif's ability to use Spellcasting, but only if it had a good gameplay effect.

But you complained that channeling needs XP. Training necro or evoc needs xp too. Spellcasting even more. Now is your problem with channeling or with the invocation skill?
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Post Sunday, 3rd April 2011, 15:27

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

roguelikedev wrote:A different idea entirely-- my complaints with Channel Energy are threefold:

1. It costs too much nutrition for "all the time" use.
2. It does too little for "ace in the hole" use.
3. It relies on invocations, so using it effectively requires an XP investment.


Here's an idea: Channel energy restores more MP at the cost of piety and becomes invocations-free, and Sif grants a new high-piety passive ability that gives an increased rate of MP regeneration (Ambient Channeling? Energy Attunement?).

This makes channeling more "interesting"; it removes the need to train in order to use it effectively (thereby letting you focus more on spellcasting skills, which is more thematic anyway), and introduces an element of choice at high piety in that if you overuse it you lose out on books AND a powerful passive ability. Plus, the passive ability makes thematic sense as well: If Sif wants you to practice magic, wouldn't it make sense for her to give you more MP all the time? OOOH that would also make sense: Have Sif increase your mana pool at high piety as well! This all may be overpowered, but I think it makes some sense.

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Post Sunday, 3rd April 2011, 16:39

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

galehar wrote:But you complained that channeling needs XP. Training necro or evoc needs xp too. Spellcasting even more. Now is your problem with channeling or with the invocation skill?
what? that was my first post in the thread.
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Post Sunday, 3rd April 2011, 16:57

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

MrMisterMonkey wrote:
galehar wrote:But you complained that channeling needs XP. Training necro or evoc needs xp too. Spellcasting even more. Now is your problem with channeling or with the invocation skill?
what? that was my first post in the thread.

Ooops, sorry, I thought it was roguelikedev.
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Post Sunday, 3rd April 2011, 22:03

Re: Sif Muna suggestions.

Out of the three caster gods, I usually pick Kiku or Vehumet over Sif, and if the first two aren't available I'll consider Chei or Makhleb. I'm annoyed when I feel I'm stuck with Sif.

Largely this is because I prefer hybrids, and piety for kills goes up faster than piety for spell school training. If I'm not a hybrid I'm focusing on conjuring and really need a next level killer spell. Sif will grant you that killer spell plus a whole lot more... someday. Good luck to me surviving that long.

One of the attractions of Sif is that worship will get you spells from all sorts of schools, which is nice for spriggans and deep elves (copying from learndb here) but this is a weakness for me because it's likely that any particular gift, especially in the midgame when options are still limited, will be next door to useless. I'm working off a small sample here but I've seen others say similar things.

The obvious suggestion is that Sif's first book is guaranteed, like Wizardry if you don't already have it, but that's weak because the random books are part of the charm. Perhaps have the first one or two gifts random but favour the highest spell school?

Just my two cents. Looks like most people participating have issues with other aspects.

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