Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight


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Dungeon Dilettante

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Post Sunday, 18th August 2013, 23:23

Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight

A merfolk death knight of Yredelemnul who has enslaved another (enslavable) unique or player as part of his posse.

Equipment: polearm (potentially ego), leather armour. If his enslaved soul has chain lightning, he should have a source of relec (like a ring, or his leather armour). (Or maybe just always have a source of relec?)
Spells: Based on the DK invocations: Animate Dead, Injury Mirror, Vampiric Draining, Enslave Soul

The enslaved unique is a spectral copy of the unique, as if a player DK had enslaved them, but must not have previously appeared. For balance (and flavor) reasons, the enslaved unique should have been able to appear previously, but did not. They will also not reappear later.

The enslave soul spell Ystrom has is mostly flavor. It can only be cast on the player (kind of boring if he enslaves a pet and it replaces his unique), if the player is of a living species, and if the player is killed in the appropriate number of turns, they get a slightly different death message: “Your soul now belongs to Ystrom.” Further, this is recorded in the bones file; when the player ghost could be placed, instead it would be placed as a spectral version of the player accompanying Ystrom as his enslaved soul.

If you kill Ystrom before his enslaved soul, the enslaved soul is dismissed (eg. “Erica's soul is freed.”) and you get no milestone. (This can mean that no milestone is generated for some player ghost appearances, but that's already true if they just avoid the ghost altogether.) If you kill the enslaved soul first, you get the milestone.
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Crypt Cleanser

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Post Monday, 19th August 2013, 00:21

Re: Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight

I like it a lot.

One minor confusion is that I don't understand why he's a merfolk and is named Ystrom.
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Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Monday, 19th August 2013, 06:05

Re: Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight

pubby wrote:I like it a lot.

One minor confusion is that I don't understand why he's a merfolk and is named Ystrom.


Well, "Ystrom" backwards is "Mortsy",

Dungeon Dilettante

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Post Monday, 19th August 2013, 06:10

Re: Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight

pubby wrote:I like it a lot.

One minor confusion is that I don't understand why he's a merfolk and is named Ystrom.


Respectively: for flavor (and merfolk are good at polearms), and because I couldn't come up with anything better. Alternate name suggestions welcome.
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Snake Sneak

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Post Monday, 19th August 2013, 16:43

Re: Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight

Pretty clever!

Personally, I'd give him Bolt of Draining too, so Ystrom can fire at the player through his enslaved soul.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 19th August 2013, 17:23

Re: Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight

He can already poke the player with his polearm through his enslaved soul. Yred worshipers get undead allies without needing to train necromancy, so bolt of draining is out of flavor him.

Shoals Surfer

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Post Monday, 19th August 2013, 21:32

Re: Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight

This seems pretty obnoxious. Injury Mirror is basically useless to players because of the huge piety cost, but on an opponent it can be very irritating. Drain Life (unless you actually meant Vampric Draining) is enough to make soul eaters pretty irritating, and given that this is a midgame unique this would be a couple of soul eaters stapled together with Injury Mirror and a strong unique buddy. Do not want.

EDIT: more generally, I do not see the need for uniques aping player characters when we already have ghosts to serve this function.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 19th August 2013, 22:14

Re: Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight

Although Ghosts don't get god-given abilities, and there's already non-uniques who use Mirror Injury. I personally would not give him either of vampiric draining or drain life, I would just give his polearm a very strong likelihood of vampiric or draining (but not reaping, because reaping sucks for an NPC) brand (I would also make it a Scythe, just to irritate everyone and give him some black death-robes-y description :)
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Dungeon Master

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Post Monday, 19th August 2013, 22:32

Re: Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight

ackack: How is injury mirror useless? The fact that it is costly just means that you need to think harder before using it.

I agree that Injury Mirror on an enemy is evil. On the other hand, that makes it quite suitable for a unique, if you ask me. (Compare stealing: having stealing monsters like, for example, nymphs or leprechauns, causes annoyance and pain for little gain. Having a single stealing unique creates -- at most! -- one encounter where you have to adapt.)

However, the basic idea I really love about the proposal is a unique who enslaved another unique. What's not to like?

dck

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Post Monday, 19th August 2013, 22:42

Re: Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight

Well since players are somewhat smarter than monsters if mirrored pain could mean any sort of problem you can just wait it out and if not the unique might as well not have it.
I don't like the idea very much because I think it's fun when uniques happen to be together by chance and the player deals with them on his own terms. If there's an unique who consistently appears with another spectral unique I think that effect is watered down somewhat and if he's to appear around the mid-late game he probably isn't going to that much threatening on his own since he could spawn with some pretty dangerous guys.
So basically it means you're indirectly fighting an already existing unique who happens to have this merfolk guy by his side.

Dungeon Master

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Post Monday, 19th August 2013, 22:54

Re: Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight

Zannick should explain but I understood the spectral unique to be partially an attempt at humour: you'd see a level-appropriate unique having someone in tow like Sigmund, Terence or whoever didn't show up early on. I regard this as story-telling which you may completely ignore if you only care about tactics.

[Full disclosure: in order for Ystrom to be not just a gimmick, the guy should be able to pose a relevant threat on his own -- which between "merfolk", "good polearm" and "an Yredelemnul ability or other" is certainly possible. Might also be better to have a longer list of enslaved soul targets than just "earlier uniques"; anything that players may find worthwhile around that level would also work, e.g. high level orcs.]

dck

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Post Monday, 19th August 2013, 23:44

Re: Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight

That's fine I suppose but the OP hinted specifically at Nikola being enslaved and Nikola is kinda stronger than Terence.
Merfolk impalers are strong so if this guy is the main threat and his pet unique and abilities are mostly flavor then I don't know, he'd basically be a stronger impaler.
Maybe like any sensible DK he should have a pet with haste and might other. Perhaps not even an actual monster, just some unspecified thing (this can be easily solved flavor wise by claiming it's some unrecognizable spectral being or something like that). The pet should be easier to kill than him and he probably shouldn't be terribly sturdy himself.

Shoals Surfer

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Post Tuesday, 20th August 2013, 00:48

Re: Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight

dpeg wrote:ackack: How is injury mirror useless? The fact that it is costly just means that you need to think harder before using it.


The cost is just wildly out of whack compared to the effectiveness of most other god abilities I can think of. Doing 4 damage once with Injury Mirror is a casting of Heroism. Doing 25 damage once is Brothers in Arms. A substantial fight with multiple opponents has a good chance of massive piety drain, which can potentially interfere with what is overwhelmingly Yred's best feature: the undead gifts. So yeah, generally I think Injury Mirror is probably actively harmful for most DKs. Animate Dead is great, Drain Life can be useful for many DKs, Enslave seems nice although it probably encourages overtraining of Invocations and is quite unnecessary by the time you're getting high-end gifts.

Dungeon Master

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Post Tuesday, 20th August 2013, 01:36

Re: Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight

How can having one more tool be actively harmful? I'd rather say that Injury Mirror is a proactive emergency button:
As you point out, Injury Mirror is not for when you fight many monsters at once -- but it can work wonders against a ghost, an early hydra or even an orb of fire. These guys basically kill themselves (in grave cases while you heal yourself). You may have a piety star less than before the battle, but you live and the other one is dead. Surely beats having it the other way around.

Note that for many (living) monsters on the battlefield, Drain Life can be a reasonable option.

For fun, a single wizmode test. HuDK, health 114, piety 150 against an orb of fire. No actions taken except for guzzling Heal Wounds.
Spoiler: show
  Code:
_An orb of fire comes into view.
_You offer yourself to Yredelemnul, and fill with unholy energy.
 The orb of fire glows bright magenta.
 The bolt of fire hits you!
 Ouch! That really hurt!
 Yredelemnul mirrors your injury!
_The orb of fire is heavily damaged.
_You feel much better.
 You feel much better.
 The orb of fire glows yellow.
 The bolt of fire hits you!
 Yredelemnul mirrors your injury!
_The orb of fire is severely damaged.
_You feel much better.
 You feel much better.
 The orb of fire glows deep purple.
 The fireball explodes! The fireball engulfs you! The fireball engulfs the orb of fire. The orb of fire completely resists.
 Yredelemnul mirrors your injury!
_You destroy the orb of fire!
Four potions later, the orb is dead and there is 128 piety left.

dck

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Post Tuesday, 20th August 2013, 02:18

Re: Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight

I suspect this HuDK didn't have much in the way of defense though, you don't normally take that kind of damage so results are a lot less spectacular.

Dungeon Master

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Post Tuesday, 20th August 2013, 02:28

Re: Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight

dck: Yes, it is an exercise for the player to estimate this in advance. On the other hand, we can assume that the player has some method to harm things. Whatever, I have used the mirror in my games to good effect. To be sure, it's not something that happens frequently but I wouldn't see why to dismiss the power out of hand. It's deliberate that the power comes up early.

Dungeon Dilettante

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Post Tuesday, 20th August 2013, 03:47

Re: Unique proposal: Ystrom the Death Knight

Re: Spell list
The spells I listed are the monster spell list for Yred worshippers (I think only deep dwarf death knights at the moment); the only spell I'd need to actually add would be the enslave player mechanism. Vampiric Draining is what the enum said so that's what I put in my description.

dpeg wrote:Zannick should explain but I understood the spectral unique to be partially an attempt at humour: you'd see a level-appropriate unique having someone in tow like Sigmund, Terence or whoever didn't show up early on. I regard this as story-telling which you may completely ignore if you only care about tactics.

Yes, my initial suggestion was definitely founded in humor. But I do intend for the unique to be potentially powerful and have a potentially powerful ally, in addition to being flavorful. Note that I never actually said "midgame"; not all orcs appear in Orc. I actually picture Ystrom appearing late D (or Crypt, I suppose), around or past the point Nikola shows up, yes. The electricity resistance is simply so that he can survive his own ally (yes, I saw that post of the player killed by their spectral Nikola).

I don't really have an objection to making the spectral slave a nonunique (it'll make the placement code a little easier to write with a fallback anyway).

dpeg wrote:[Full disclosure: in order for Ystrom to be not just a gimmick, the guy should be able to pose a relevant threat on his own -- which between "merfolk", "good polearm" and "an Yredelemnul ability or other" is certainly possible. Might also be better to have a longer list of enslaved soul targets than just "earlier uniques"; anything that players may find worthwhile around that level would also work, e.g. high level orcs.]

I've been drafting up some stats, mostly based on the merfolk impaler. If I made his attack speed 6 to match theirs he ought to be pretty dangerous in melee.

dck wrote:That's fine I suppose but the OP hinted specifically at Nikola being enslaved and Nikola is kinda stronger than Terence.
Merfolk impalers are strong so if this guy is the main threat and his pet unique and abilities are mostly flavor then I don't know, he'd basically be a stronger impaler.
Maybe like any sensible DK he should have a pet with haste and might other. Perhaps not even an actual monster, just some unspecified thing (this can be easily solved flavor wise by claiming it's some unrecognizable spectral being or something like that). The pet should be easier to kill than him and he probably shouldn't be terribly sturdy himself.

I guess the balance goal would be for the two to be dangerous in conjunction with each other rather than individually. Having a much weaker pet from the early game would certainly fulfill my humor quota without being very well-balanced against the potentially strong pets he might have. I'm not leaving out the possibility that he comes with some extra Yred gifts, which could balance out a potentially weak unique.

The exact size and makeup of his team as well as his exact stats and equipment are up in the air for now, and suggestions are welcome. It seems there is sufficient interest in the idea to start coding the core aspects of it. I also wanted feedback on the additional player enslave mechanism, which is a reach goal on top of the base idea, what with the modifications that will be necessary to the player ghost process (and its own balance issues).

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