Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts


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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Post Saturday, 15th June 2013, 09:02

Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

I found jet another box of beasts today (don´t we all?) and i thought there has to be a way to make this item more useful, kinda like how the the four elemental items recently got changed into something really neat.
What if the Box of Beasts is the ”sibling” of the Four; i.e. the more Evoc you put in the better animals come out of the box, from lowly crap like now, to spiders to hydras to Scorpion Emperors etc. all the way up to Helliphants and beyond. Other than that, the box should stay pretty much the same: after x usage it will be discharged and become a regular box. Drop rate could be lower for balance, providing Evoc-heavy toons with some goodies.
The idea would be that it stays pretty much the same for non-evocers.

Could also sync well with the Beastmaster idea i read about from a 10 month old thread viewtopic.php?f=8&t=5471&p=73654&hilit=box+of+beasts#p73654
but i have no clue what state Beastmaster is in, if any at all.

Any thoughts :?:
Last edited by graffen69 on Saturday, 17th August 2013, 04:58, edited 4 times in total.

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Post Saturday, 15th June 2013, 09:46

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

I've actually been implementing an improved Box of Beasts, it's on a branch right now but I hope to merge it into trunk soon. If you want to test it out it's on the "evoker-playstyle" branch in the main Crawl repository.

The reworked item works as follows:
* Set number of charges before it stops working (the player doesn't know how many it has, but it is between 5-15)
* If it successfully generates a chimera, the chimera is always friendly
* Generates chimera instead of standard beasts. Chimera are composite creatures created by selecting 3 monsters randomly from a list. The list of eligible monsters scales up with Evo; so at 1 Evo you might get jackal, rat, bat chimera; at 27 Evo you could get a dragon, dire elephant, death yak chimera...
* Currently the chimera takes the primary attacks of each component monster (the 2nd and 3rd monsters primary attacks become the 1st and 2nd aux attacks of the new creature). The final aux is taken from the 1st aux of the 1st component.
* If any of the monsters are winged or batty, the chimera gets flight or battyness respectively
* Breath attacks of the first monster will be used. I need to do change it so the second and third monster have their breath attacks (since it is flavoured that the chimera has all three heads).

The chimera are very strong single summons relative to their component monsters; having 3 primary attacks is a very noticable effect. You can also end up with attacks from slow, strong creatures existing on the body of a fast monster.

It makes the box much more useful and really fun to use since each creature is very unique and there are some pretty funny combos (who doesn't want a batty movement death yak?)

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Post Saturday, 15th June 2013, 12:30

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

Sounds neat! Do they time out?
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Post Saturday, 15th June 2013, 12:58

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

njvack wrote:Sounds neat! Do they time out?


Yes but their duration is still longer than the old ones. You can sometimes keep your beast around for a few fights.

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Post Sunday, 16th June 2013, 15:00

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

Does the Box of Beasts have to have a finite number of charges?

It would be nice to see the box of beasts to have a charge mechanic something like a rod but charge dependent on kills rather than time.

I would propose an evokable item which have a percentage chance of increasing in charge when a non friendly, low intelligence monster dies while in lie of sight of the user. This probability is dependent of the monster's HD and players Evo skill the monster leaves no corpse. although the box will display the number of charges as a number, the item will record and list the monster used to charge the box as captured, then remove a monster from the list and use it for the evocation.

This makes the box a dependable summoning source without it being any more powerful than the dungeon itself, it also requires the player to invest into evocations in accordance to his/her dependance onto the box. In the same way a player could invest lightly or heavily into translocation to gain level 2 blink or level 5 phase shift, a player could invest lightly and use the box sparsely for fodder, or invest highly and repeatedly use the box to produce monsters to then try and capture more.

I originally thought that the box would produce a non-hostile full HP version of the monster captured, however there are a couple of paths that can be taken. One is to upscale low HD monsters caught, so that small fries don't clog your box. although the monster will increase in HD, it will be from the same genus, ie a caught jackal might scale up depending on your Evo skill into a wolf. Having read what Mumra has been working on, A chimera being produce from 3 of the listed monsters sounds like a very good idea and fits quite well into the mechanic aforementioned in my post.

just to round off:
- Each player or allied kill on a suitable monster may result in a capture
- Highly intelligent monsters and undead cannot be captured meaning the box will have diminishing returns.
- Each capture contributes to a charge in the box
- High HD monsters need high Evo
- Evoking the box summons a friendly monster. In the case of the chimera: three monsters from the box will be used to produce a chimera.

I can't see any real problems with this setup, its success would be dependent on the capture rate of the box.

having the Box become more reliable, I anticipate it seeing more use than currently. Making the Box have a regainable charge also means it more suited for a starting class, the previously mentioned Beastmaster class.

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Post Sunday, 16th June 2013, 16:13

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

1010011010 wrote:I would propose an evokable item which have a percentage chance of increasing in charge when a non friendly, low intelligence monster dies while in lie of sight of the user. This probability is dependent of the monster's HD and players Evo skill the monster leaves no corpse. although the box will display the number of charges as a number, the item will record and list the monster used to charge the box as captured, then remove a monster from the list and use it for the evocation.


Well, I actually already implemented this too, but as a separate evo item ;) The item is currently flavoured as "hand of haunting" (needs a better name), it captures souls until it's full then they can be released. The unfinished part is what the effect should actually be upon evoking, and it doesn't (yet) track exactly what monsters it was charged with. The idea of using the mechanic for BoB instead or as well is definitely intriguing. Having a chimera actually constructed from things you've killed would be highly entertaining I think. I'm slightly partial to the flavour of using butchering as the charge mechanic but that could probably end up annoying.

If the item went infinite-use like this then I'd probably want to make the summon duration shorter. My main reservation is that I like the idea of some evo items being strictly finite in usage, although the "corpse-dropping, low intelligence" requirement does put a limit on the item's usefulness in some late-game places.

having the Box become more reliable, I anticipate it seeing more use than currently. Making the Box have a regainable charge also means it more suited for a starting class, the previously mentioned Beastmaster class.


Generally speaking, it's kind of bad to have a starting item that you're going to be using for most of the game. Backgrounds are intended as a starting kit to transition you to a certain point in the game, from there you are free to develop your character in a variety of ways. The limited charges are nice because it makes you think more deeply about where and when to use the item.

I don't really see anything distinct in the Beast Master proposal other than "artificer with a box of beasts" so I'd rather just make this a suitable artificer starting item alongside other interesting tools they could have.
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Post Monday, 17th June 2013, 10:21

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

please please use 'chimaera' even if you can't/shouldn't use the ae glyph.

With finite uses, it's like an unrechargable wand. I'm not sure if that's a bad thing.

Alternately, it could be 'box of beast' and only make one permanent chimaera. The artificer would hopefully have enough evo to use it on d:3 and keep the chimaera till d:10 or so, if he ended up starting with it. The chimaera probably shouldn't level up.

Another idea: the box recharges with xp (or exploration), but doesn't begin to recharge until the chimaera dies, and charges slowly (compared to the elemental evokers).
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Post Monday, 17th June 2013, 13:34

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

rchandra wrote:please please use 'chimaera' even if you can't/shouldn't use the ae glyph.


Well apparently that's a completely different thing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimaera

The canonical mythical spelling seems correct: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimera_%28mythology%29

Of course, that depends how much you trust Wikipedia :P

rchandra wrote:Alternately, it could be 'box of beast' and only make one permanent chimaera. The artificer would hopefully have enough evo to use it on d:3 and keep the chimaera till d:10 or so, if he ended up starting with it. The chimaera probably shouldn't level up.


Permanent allies are somewhat hard to balance, especially so early in the game. Only generating a single one might lead to scumming situations since the combinations are random and some are clearly better than others.

rchandra wrote:Another idea: the box recharges with xp (or exploration), but doesn't begin to recharge until the chimaera dies, and charges slowly (compared to the elemental evokers).


We had a discussion on ##crawl-dev about possibly changing all misc. items to use the XP-recharge mechanic. I'm not dead against this (although XP-recharge needs normalising a bit first, it seems to be either too slow or too fast depending on where you are in the game) but personally I like having a bit of a mixture of mechanics within the item class. However I realise this is bad for consistency, usability and so on.

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Post Monday, 17th June 2013, 15:17

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

mumra wrote:* Generates chimera instead of standard beasts.


Awesome! I'm glad to hear that my chimera idea got used. Or, alternately, that an idea a lot like my chimera idea got used. :)

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Post Monday, 17th June 2013, 16:15

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

Lasty wrote:Awesome! I'm glad to hear that my chimera idea got used. Or, alternately, that an idea a lot like my chimera idea got used. :)


Yes, it's actually implemented in a very similar way to your proposal, although I wasn't specifically basing it on that. I think your thread certainly played a part in forming the design though :)

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Post Monday, 17th June 2013, 16:24

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

@murma
I'd prefer if the box used the recharge mechanics. While the box shouldn't be possible to use once per turn, if it has limited charges than it's just a fancy wand.

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Post Monday, 17th June 2013, 17:35

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

mumra wrote:
Lasty wrote:Awesome! I'm glad to hear that my chimera idea got used. Or, alternately, that an idea a lot like my chimera idea got used. :)

Yes, it's actually implemented in a very similar way to your proposal, although I wasn't specifically basing it on that. I think your thread certainly played a part in forming the design though :)

I'm going to have to edit the GDD intro post: there is actually a chance that an idea posted here will make it into the game!

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Post Monday, 17th June 2013, 17:39

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

Grimm wrote:
mumra wrote:
Lasty wrote:Awesome! I'm glad to hear that my chimera idea got used. Or, alternately, that an idea a lot like my chimera idea got used. :)

Yes, it's actually implemented in a very similar way to your proposal, although I wasn't specifically basing it on that. I think your thread certainly played a part in forming the design though :)

I'm going to have to edit the GDD intro post: there is actually a chance that an idea posted here will make it into the game!


Don't act too soon, it's not actually merged yet :P

In fact this would not actually be the first time, but it's reasonable to say the chances are vanishingly small, which is basically how you worded it anyway ;)

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Post Monday, 17th June 2013, 18:34

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

minmay wrote:Maybe the item should just be an actual wand - at the very least, scaling with spell power is probably better than a bunch of items having their own formulas for the effect of skill.


My main argument against this would be that wands are very consistent in that they are all targetted. The Box is more like a multi-charge scroll in the way it work, in fact really it's more like a deck with only one type of card since it has a fixed but unknown number of charges.

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Post Tuesday, 18th June 2013, 12:25

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

I've always liked the idea of evocable items charging up based on what creatures are killed. Maybe the BoB recharge based on how many animal/beast genome monsters are killed (scaled for things like rats)?

Admittedly, there is the problem that players could not clear the lair, and just keep going back to charge up the BoB - so perhaps having it that the suitable genome charges it up more than normal kills would help (1/4 chance for suited genome to recharge, 1/8 for non-suitable genome to recharge?)
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Post Tuesday, 18th June 2013, 15:00

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

Bim wrote:I've always liked the idea of evocable items charging up based on what creatures are killed. Maybe the BoB recharge based on how many animal/beast genome monsters are killed (scaled for things like rats)?

Admittedly, there is the problem that players could not clear the lair, and just keep going back to charge up the BoB - so perhaps having it that the suitable genome charges it up more than normal kills would help (1/4 chance for suited genome to recharge, 1/8 for non-suitable genome to recharge?)


Define "things like rats". Basically I really like the simplicity of the current mechanic; the only possible change as it stands is making the beast quality scale based on the player's depth as well as Evo.

A recharge-on-kills mechanic does seem a lot more complex and work needs doing to ensure it doesn't invite the kind of bad gameplay you're talking about - i.e. saving monsters for later just to charge the box up.

XP recharge is probably best for ease and consistency, but it loses the flavour. If I was going with recharge-on-kills then I'd rather just do what was already described, i.e. have a chance every time you kill a beast to 'capture' it, and generate a chimera from every three beasts 'captured'. This means you'll always want level-appropriate beast kills rather than saving Lair monsters for later. Unfortunately it still invites annoying/degenerate gameplay, i.e. if you see a rat on D:15 you might actually want to avoid killing it, or drop the box before killing it, because you actually don't want that in your next beast!

So ... sadly, I think limited charges or XP recharge are the only mechanics that I can see working well for gameplay.

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Post Tuesday, 18th June 2013, 19:00

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

new idea, semi-serious as it could spark more ideas, BoB releases a chimera when evoked from the inventory, but if wielded and evoked it can capture weak a monster using a beam and then checking for capture putting evo skill against monster HD and remaining health.

it's quite tedious and a bit stolen from pokemon.

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Post Tuesday, 18th June 2013, 19:29

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

1010011010 wrote:new idea, semi-serious as it could spark more ideas, BoB releases a chimera when evoked from the inventory, but if wielded and evoked it can capture weak a monster using a beam and then checking for capture putting evo skill against monster HD and remaining health.

it's quite tedious and a bit stolen from pokemon.


I thought about something like this; but if the monster is weak then the chimera won't be massively useful. Overall I think the mechanic would be too fiddly to be fun. Passively storing beasts at random seems better if we go down that route.

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Post Tuesday, 18th June 2013, 23:35

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

mumra wrote:
1010011010 wrote:new idea, semi-serious as it could spark more ideas, BoB releases a chimera when evoked from the inventory, but if wielded and evoked it can capture weak a monster using a beam and then checking for capture putting evo skill against monster HD and remaining health.

it's quite tedious and a bit stolen from pokemon.


I thought about something like this; but if the monster is weak then the chimera won't be massively useful. Overall I think the mechanic would be too fiddly to be fun. Passively storing beasts at random seems better if we go down that route.


Sorry, I meant weak as in heavily damaged, not nonthreatening and the heavy damage won't be seen on the chimera. Perhaps evoking the BoB will check if all monsters in LoS are capturable if so, propts the player if he/she wishes to capture all monsters (necessary checks of evo, HD, hp, monster type, intelligence ect. remaining are done on all monsters).

this would mean the box will produce a chimera unless it's able to absorb all monsters in sight, the only reason for the prompt is in case the player knows of other monsters out of sight, though it is possible it could work without a prompt and is considered as the box working on it's own accord. The most likely case of all monsters being capture-able is when there is one half dead one making it simple to use when wanting to capture and releasing a chimera when unable to. This brings about an element of risk in the BoB similar to the crystal ball of energy, poor use and poor investment in Evocations will deplete your charges when you don't need it.

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Post Thursday, 20th June 2013, 07:51

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

I would use the 'random chance of capturing a creature on kill' method, and if the box already has three critters in it, replace the smallest HD creature with the one you just captured, that way, you could continually improve your 'chimeara in waiting' until you were ready to release it, then build it up again from scratch.

This avoids tedious yes/no prompts, doesn't require wielding/evoking, requires you kill 'current level critters' if you want to get useful things out of your box, and prevents you from being able to spam it while having it be able to be refilled. It also seems to fit with the theme of the thing.

Although I'd change the name to 'box of the beast' rather than 'box of beasts' if it's only going to be one 'chimaera in progress'

Also I think the use of such an item would probably offend TSO, Zin, and Ely, and probably Fehldas (sucking up corpse parts and pasting them together into some kind of crazy arcane beast sounds a bit necromatic and certainly corpse-violating to me)

Also if your BoB sucks up a corpse, the corpse should disappear.
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Post Thursday, 20th June 2013, 07:53

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

Oh, and I didn't say so, but it should only be able to grab body parts from things that leave corpses.
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Post Thursday, 20th June 2013, 08:16

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

Siegurt wrote:I would use the 'random chance of capturing a creature on kill' method, and if the box already has three critters in it, replace the smallest HD creature with the one you just captured, that way, you could continually improve your 'chimeara in waiting' until you were ready to release it, then build it up again from scratch.


This is probably the best of the ideas along these lines. I'm still not totally sure though... The current randomness works well for the high-level chimera since you can get top tier beasts mixed in with low and mid-tier ones, making it less crazily powerful. I'll probably still end up pushing the current version in trunk and then consider further options later (although the general "spitting back out monsters you sucked in" mechanic might still get used for another item I'm working on...)

Siegurt wrote:Also I think the use of such an item would probably offend TSO, Zin, and Ely, and probably Fehldas (sucking up corpse parts and pasting them together into some kind of crazy arcane beast sounds a bit necromatic and certainly corpse-violating to me)


Also a good point, I hadn't thought about this. Even in the current design maybe I should think about god reactions to the item.

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Post Thursday, 20th June 2013, 08:30

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

Well, if "replace the lowest HD critter with the newly obtained one" is too powerful, you could simply make it "replace a *random* critter in the box with the newly obtained one"

I can just imagine a rat being stuck in my box and trying over and over and over and over to replace it and finally just summoning the damn thing to get the rat out of my box :)
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Post Thursday, 20th June 2013, 14:44

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

Siegurt wrote:I can just imagine a rat being stuck in my box


I had a friend with this problem, he had to get help in the end :lol:

But in all seriousness, it all sounds a bit too metagamey to me; e.g. players avoiding killing lower-level monsters to try and keep high-level stuff in the box, or hunting bats to try and get something with the 'batty' flag; we tend to try and avoid this kind of stuff and in this case it's only flavour we're adding, there is no real gameplay improvement by making the box work this way instead of just a simple XP recharge. And the flavour is pretty cool already.

So I'm not sure ... but we'll see ;)

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Post Thursday, 20th June 2013, 16:50

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

Another thought I had was if you tried to use the box and it wasn't full, you'd get a pathetic little something that can't attack and dies easily (Like the crawling corpses from twisted resurrection, but they don't join with other ones or anything) and that would use up your charges/corpses. (And of course you couldn't know if your box was full or not)

That idea actually works slightly better with charge-by-XP (Since if it's charged by absorbing corpses a careful player could guess if their box was full or not by counting)
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Post Thursday, 20th June 2013, 21:11

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

@Siegurt
That rewards tedious behavior, such as making little tally marks on a sheet of paper when ever a corpse is absorbed. Just have the box say how many corpses it has devoured.

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Post Thursday, 20th June 2013, 21:18

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

Which is why I said it would be better if it was "charge on XP" instead of "charge on corpse absorption"

If there's no message/indication when you "charge" it (whether by corpse or XP) then no tally can be made, and you just have to kinda guess that "I think it's ready to go now"

Naturally if we're trying to conceal whether it's fully charged, then 'charge on corpses' would have to be an invisible, undetectable event. (So behind the scenes, the box just makes a note of what you killed and adds a charge, but no message occurs)
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Post Friday, 21st June 2013, 19:54

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

The new Box is now in trunk. Once the servers are updated you can try this online! I haven't given it a recharge mechanism yet, we have discussed this a bit but there's no strong agreement on what would be best so I'm sticking with the simple option of not changing anything (and I do like it in the current form, adding any of these mechanics might just be complicating things for no obvious gain). Please let me know any feedback.

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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 13:06

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

mumra wrote:The new Box is now in trunk. Once the servers are updated you can try this online! I haven't given it a recharge mechanism yet, we have discussed this a bit but there's no strong agreement on what would be best so I'm sticking with the simple option of not changing anything (and I do like it in the current form, adding any of these mechanics might just be complicating things for no obvious gain). Please let me know any feedback.


Just tried this out with an artifacter (obtained via wiz mode on D1), and I think these chimera work fantastically, It plays well to have one chimera support you for quite a few battles, feeling different enough to summoner or orc priest, a few queries however:

- should it be possible to get a bat, bat, bat chimers. I have had such a chimera, just wondering whether the game should stop this.
- why does the box not work sometime, what factors this?
- at high evocation skill it's still possible to get a D1 monster in the mix (e.g. a dragon, death yak, jackal chimera at evo 27).
- is a dragon, rat, rat chimera better than a dragon? (I can't get chimera in the arena)
- my Box never emptied (because of wiz mode?)
- most peculiar, chimera give you experience (killing a dying or timing out chimera for extra exp)

most of these are my own curiosity, but I think that the last point should be rectified, no experience for chimeras. Overall, the new Box seems great regardless of what charge mechanism it uses.

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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 15:45

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

1010011010 wrote:Just tried this out with an artifacter (obtained via wiz mode on D1), and I think these chimera work fantastically, It plays well to have one chimera support you for quite a few battles, feeling different enough to summoner or orc priest, a few queries however:


Thanks for the feedback! I'm thinking about at least giving Ar the box in exchange for his enslavement wand for the time being, but I'm worried it's maybe too powerful for D:1 (unless I limit it to one beast at a time, which might make sense generally, but it makes the box much less good later in the game).

1010011010 wrote:- should it be possible to get a bat, bat, bat chimers. I have had such a chimera, just wondering whether the game should stop this.


Yes. I thought about making it so it's always 3 different monsters; but there's nothing really wrong with 3-headed bats, it's just the description can be a bit strange.

1010011010 wrote:- why does the box not work sometime, what factors this?


There's a flat 1/3 chance for the box to fail. It doesn't use a charge. I might make this improve a bit with Dex.

1010011010 wrote:- at high evocation skill it's still possible to get a D1 monster in the mix (e.g. a dragon, death yak, jackal chimera at evo 27).


This is intentional. The 3 heads are selected from different power ranges. The first head is always full power, the second head is somewhere between half power and full power, the third head is anywhere between 1 power and full power. This is partly a balancing tool so you aren't always going to get three really strong things (although it is still possible); but it makes some interesting combinations possible that wouldn't be otherwise, e.g. yak-bats.

1010011010 wrote:- is a dragon, rat, rat chimera better than a dragon? (I can't get chimera in the arena)


Technically this wouldn't be possible (the second beast would have to be better than a rat) but it's a good point because having checked this, in fact it would be worse than a plain dragon. It's possible that some valid combos could be worse than the base monster too. The reason being that the dragon has 3 attacks anyway so its second two attacks with get replaced with worse ones from the other creatures (although the fourth attack might take on one of the dragon's other auxes). I'll think a bit about how to improve this situation, clearly we want the chimera to always be at least a bit better than the base monster.

(Chimera in the arena will be supported soon too, including selecting custom parts for them; some work is already being done on this.)

1010011010 wrote:- my Box never emptied (because of wiz mode?)


Wizmoded boxes have 50 charges. Normally generated ones have between 5-15.

1010011010 wrote:- most peculiar, chimera give you experience (killing a dying or timing out chimera for extra exp)


Ok, this is strange and definitely needs fixing.

1010011010 wrote:Overall, the new Box seems great regardless of what charge mechanism it uses.


Cool - this is why I'm not too worried about changing it yet - it definitely seems to work as-is.
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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 21:08

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

May I suggest adding enemy chimeras to the Lair or the Forest? They sound like they would be interesting to fight, particularly when they get spells. I think they would fit best flavorfully in the Lair, but the Forest probably needs more new monsters and some of the top tier chimeras are a bit strong in the Lair. Their randomness might make them hard to communicate properly, but Pan Lords work fine and if necessary their spawn rate could just be really low.

Also, does Zin hate chimeras? They seem pretty chaotic to me.
Last edited by reaver on Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 22:52, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 22:25

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

mumra wrote:
1010011010 wrote:Just tried this out with an artifacter (obtained via wiz mode on D1), and I think these chimera work fantastically, It plays well to have one chimera support you for quite a few battles, feeling different enough to summoner or orc priest, a few queries however:


Thanks for the feedback! I'm thinking about at least giving Ar the box in exchange for his enslavement wand for the time being, but I'm worried it's maybe too powerful for D:1 (unless I limit it to one beast at a time, which might make sense generally, but it makes the box much less good later in the game).



I definitely think this is a good idea, it makes Ar more evoky and less 'I've just picked up some wands'. Perhaps (as this idea does seem really awesome) a different item could be made for Ar's to start with (and be in general dungeon circulation) which would be a weaker, one chimera item with the better, multiple chimera spawning box of beasts something that needs to be found later on? Perhaps box of beasts could be the weaker one and 'Chest of beasts' the bigger one? Bag of beasts?
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Post Saturday, 22nd June 2013, 23:20

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

reaver wrote:May I suggest adding enemy chimeras to the Lair or the Forest? They sound like they would be interesting to fight, particularly when they get spells. I think they would fit best flavorfully in the Lair, but the Forest probably needs more new monsters and some of the top tier chimeras are a bit strong in the Lair. Their randomness might make them hard to communicate properly, but Pan Lords work fine and if necessary their spawn rate could just be really low.


I'd definitely like to use them in a couple of places as monsters. I'm very wary not to overdo it thought; they're much more interesting if they remain extremely rare. I was thinking of introducing some Hell chimeras, and I know HangedMan wanted to use them as "boss" monsters on Lair zig floors; if the latter happened then maybe it'd make sense to also include them very rarely on Lair:8 or maybe in a new branch end. Forest has a number of monsters being worked on for it so I'll see what makes sense when those land.

reaver wrote:Also, does Zin hate chimeras? They seem pretty chaotic to me.


Very possibly; someone else pointed out that the good gods might have opinions on this item, perhaps also Fedhas, even Chei since it could generate quick monsters?

Bim wrote:I definitely think this is a good idea, it makes Ar more evoky and less 'I've just picked up some wands'. Perhaps (as this idea does seem really awesome) a different item could be made for Ar's to start with (and be in general dungeon circulation) which would be a weaker, one chimera item with the better, multiple chimera spawning box of beasts something that needs to be found later on? Perhaps box of beasts could be the weaker one and 'Chest of beasts' the bigger one? Bag of beasts?


I wouldn't want to make something just a weaker version, I'd rather come up with a new item altogether if this one doesn't work.

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Post Sunday, 23rd June 2013, 03:39

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

The Arena is now working in my latest trunk commits (And also using chimera in vaults, etc.; however, a note of caution to vault makers -- we don't want chimera all over the place! If there's a really awesome flavourful idea for a vault using chimera, preferably in a highly randomised way, I'd love to hear about it; but they should only be used in very special cases. However, for purposes of experimentation and testing it's very useful!)

Arena syntax works like this:
rat-bat-jackal chimera v hell hound-hell hog-death yak chimera

You can randomly generate chimera:
chimera v chimera

And also generate chimera using beasts randomly picked from a given place/depth:
place:Snake:5 chimera v place:Spider:5 chimera

Those last two might produce some really strange results right now, please let me know if you see any obvious problems.

There's also another quite interesting change - winged components can now increase the speed of chimera. So a yak-bat-rat chimera's speed will be the average speed of a yak and a bat.

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Post Sunday, 23rd June 2013, 14:28

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

mumra wrote:Very possibly; someone else pointed out that the good gods might have opinions on this item, perhaps also Fedhas, even Chei since it could generate quick monsters?

Chei doesn't care if you summon Executioners so I don't see why he would be bothered here. Fedhas and the good gods should only care if necromancy is explicitly involved, probably? They are all fine (Zin included) with manticores, griffons and sphinxes for example, so probably they wouldn't be bothered by slightly more extreme magical hybrids.

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Post Sunday, 23rd June 2013, 17:25

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

MarvinPA wrote:
mumra wrote:Very possibly; someone else pointed out that the good gods might have opinions on this item, perhaps also Fedhas, even Chei since it could generate quick monsters?

Chei doesn't care if you summon Executioners so I don't see why he would be bothered here. Fedhas and the good gods should only care if necromancy is explicitly involved, probably? They are all fine (Zin included) with manticores, griffons and sphinxes for example, so probably they wouldn't be bothered by slightly more extreme magical hybrids.


Well, I made Zin hate the box since one or two people agreed with this on ##crawl-dev when I brought it up (but left other gods alone). Zin is kind of supposed to have an obscure laundry-list of dislikes anyway, isn't that right?

What in my mind makes these 'chaotic' where normal hybrids aren't is those other hybrids are naturally like that, whereas these chimera were normal beasts that have been magically merged into chimeric form, i.e. a change of form has taken place, which Zin definitely would dislike. However, the flavour could be easily spun either way, so if this change seems pointless I should just revert it.

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Post Sunday, 23rd June 2013, 18:12

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

+1 to Zin hating box of beasts, chimeras seem like things he would hate.
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Post Tuesday, 25th June 2013, 17:22

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

I just tried BoB online, because rework looks sweet.
Leveled up Evo to 15 solely for BoB. And it feels pretty weak, because I found 2 Boxes in Orc:4 and were at V when got enough skill to try them out.
That gave me chimeras like Wolf/Ice Beast/Ice Beast or like Yak/Cob/Bat which not anywhere close to "cool" at Vaults.
Btw at same moment (and same skill level) elemental evokers are nice even at V:5, so I guess problem really in BoB.
I think 15 Evo is enough to make something related cool (15 long blades make me swing demon blade almost perfectly and with 15 of some magic school i can cast lowlevel spells in GDA with 15 Int).
May be I just was unlucky with RNG, but there is feedback: please make BoB more reliable/strong on lower skill levels because it's already finite and temporary and not really strong, while conception is nice.
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Post Tuesday, 25th June 2013, 17:47

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

WildSam wrote:I just tried BoB online, because rework looks sweet.
Leveled up Evo to 15 solely for BoB. And it feels pretty weak, because I found 2 Boxes in Orc:4 and were at V when got enough skill to try them out.
That gave me chimeras like Wolf/Ice Beast/Ice Beast or like Yak/Cob/Bat which not anywhere close to "cool" at Vaults.
Btw at same moment (and same skill level) elemental evokers are nice even at V:5, so I guess problem really in BoB.
I think 15 Evo is enough to make something related cool (15 long blades make me swing demon blade almost perfectly and with 15 of some magic school i can cast lowlevel spells in GDA with 15 Int).
May be I just was unlucky with RNG, but there is feedback: please make BoB more reliable/strong on lower skill levels because it's already finite and temporary and not really strong, while conception is nice.


Yes, my impression so far and particularly from arena tests has been that it doesn't perform well against a lot of things after a certain point. Although it depends whether your server had the bugfix that allowed them to get proper AC/EV! However comparing it to the other evokers isn't necessarily useful: remember you can release multiple beasts, and they'll stay with you for quite a while (I might increase this a bit again), whereas the evokers are one-off effects that you have to wait for (and their recharge times are a bit skewed currently as well, and they are not necessarily remotely balanced!)

One possibility is scaling the beasts up according to a combination of depth and evo rather than just evo, this was in the original wiki proposal but I wanted to see how it worked with just evo, because basing the effect on where in the dungeon you were seemed a bit odd to me.

There are still some improvements to be made in how the beasts benefit from their constituent parts. They could end up getting more attacks, better AC, etc. Also I think resists aren't currently being applied, so a dragon chimera would not actually have rF right now. Maybe I should fix that and reinstate some of the more unusual monsters that used to be in it (e.g. hell hounds, hell hogs, apis) so you will get things with useful resists at higher levels.

Having said that I'm quite pleased with the changes I've made so far in construction: you can get some strong combinations of damage and speed if the right components come out. Of course the thing has to survive long enough to actually do the damage.

Importantly, I do not think you should expect these things to kill everything for you, especially not somewhere like V; but if you fight alongside them and keep them alive (and don't forget to haste them) then they could seriously increase your damage output if you have some good combinations of heads.

Anyway, thanks for the great feedback, I'll probably adjust the scale a bit in light of this; at 15 Evo it'd be good to start getting some slightly more impressive creations I think (although I do still want to make it worthwhile getting evo much higher than that!)
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Post Tuesday, 25th June 2013, 22:58

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

What happens if you are carrying multiple boxes?
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Post Tuesday, 25th June 2013, 23:18

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

XuaXua wrote:What happens if you are carrying muktiple boxes?


Then you have multiple boxes to evoke from.
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Post Tuesday, 25th June 2013, 23:37

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

mumra wrote:
XuaXua wrote:What happens if you are carrying multiple boxes?


Then you have multiple boxes to evoke from.


I meant from the aspect of the capture mechanic.
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Post Wednesday, 26th June 2013, 00:04

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

XuaXua wrote:
mumra wrote:
XuaXua wrote:What happens if you are carrying multiple boxes?


Then you have multiple boxes to evoke from.


I meant from the aspect of the capture mechanic.


There is no capture mechanic.

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Post Wednesday, 26th June 2013, 00:13

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

Although note, the way I did this with the Hand of Horrors item is that each one carried gets a chance in turn to capture a killed soul, only one can get it though, and the first one by inventory order gets the first chance.

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Post Wednesday, 26th June 2013, 15:05

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

mumra wrote:
WildSam wrote:One possibility is scaling the beasts up according to a combination of depth and evo rather than just evo, this was in the original wiki proposal but I wanted to see how it worked with just evo, because basing the effect on where in the dungeon you were seemed a bit odd to me.

Scaling with depth + evo seems like a good idea, from using the new BoB in-game I agree with WildSam that it seems underpowered at 15evo.

I also found it to be far less powerful than sack of spiders or any of the elemental evokers. (and its hard not to compare with the other evocables since that's what its competing with for inventory space)
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Post Wednesday, 26th June 2013, 17:07

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

if you scale with depth you should make them not take stairs; i don't want to be encouraged to go > and evoke my box of beasts then return to the level above to actually use it
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Post Wednesday, 26th June 2013, 17:13

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

If BoB scales with depth, should the elemental evokables?

I kind of think they should get more powerful by the same mechanism, and that it should be Evocations skill. It's OK if the Box sucks with low Evo; Annihilations sucks with low magic skills.
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Post Wednesday, 26th June 2013, 17:20

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

Some of my notes from my MfGl run are relevant to box of beasts, I was trying to test it out. Sadly the short version is I only trained evocations late game and by then it wasn't really meaningful to use the box of beasts. Lamps of fire seemed better for the late game, although I only used them once or twice also.

Finished up the last 4 main dungeon levels, headed to zot. Used my box of beasts again while fighting a draconian and bone dragon pack:

Your rat, rat, rat chimera bites the bone dragon but does no damage. (2x)

I guess this isn't the kind of item you can use with 0 evocations. I'm too heavily spread into magic skills to put much into evocations right now, but maybe around the time I'm in pan I will.

hells easy. Summoned two chimeras, not counting failures, with 18.6 evo vs 3 skeleton warriors. One died pretty fast, the other wasn't getting hit much and survived, but also didn't do much damage (about 40% of one of the warrior's health?) the two chimeras were:
griffon, black bear, warg chimera <-- later on a second copy of this one did kill a flayed ghost fairly well (about 3 turns)
black bear, sky beast, warg chimera

Seems really cool, but doesn't seem like it can be effective in zot or extended right now. this may not be a problem that needs fixing. The depth scaling might take care of it, if you end up going that way.

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Post Wednesday, 26th June 2013, 17:34

Re: Proposal: Improve Box of Beasts

njvack wrote:If BoB scales with depth, should the elemental evokables?

I kind of think they should get more powerful by the same mechanism, and that it should be Evocations skill. It's OK if the Box sucks with low Evo; Annihilations sucks with low magic skills.


That's a pretty horrible analogy and I wouldn't call 15 evo low. Have you even used these?
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