betterbuffs


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Crypt Cleanser

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Post Tuesday, 16th July 2013, 16:30

betterbuffs

I've been prototyping a permabuff system this past week.

For those who don't know, a permabuff is simply a buff spell that remains active for as long as you want. The point is to remove the tedium of having to cast the same buff spells every fight. The permabuff interface is simple: casting a spell once enables it, casting it again disables it. While a permabuff is active, the mp you used to cast the buff does not regenerate until you disable the buff.

This proposal is more than simply extending spell durations though - the goal is to actually make buff spells interesting.

A bit of philosophy:

Permabuffs require redesigning spells, many of which were problematic in the first place.

A permabuff should be a long-term strategical decision rather than a tactical per-battle decision. Making a decision about which permabuffs to enable should be like deciding which armour to use: infrequent but important. Likewise, activating and canceling a permabuff takes several turns of startup, just like it takes several turns to wield or unwield armour. This means you'll have to make decisions before getting into fights.

Permabuffs need an interesting downside that will influence your decisions. It's important that this penalty doesn't add any tedium to a spell; having to toggle buffs constantly because of a penalty is exactly what we don't want. For instance, a constant hunger cost would promote disabling the buff before traveling long distances, adding tedium.

Spell failure is checked once at the time of casting, and then the percentage is used to scale down the permabuff effects. For instance, if the success of ozocubu's is 50%, then you would only receive 50% the AC while active. Spell hunger is only checked at the time of casting.

Not every spell should be a permabuff. For instance, I'm not going to change transmutations or contaminators like haste. I might permabuff necromutation and beastly appendages however.

Current spells I have ideas on:

Swiftness: The speed boost now depends on the amount of armour slots you're wearing and your air magic skill. At low levels you'll have to be naked to go fast. A few levels later you can wear one piece, then two, and so on. Still weakens stealth and trap finding.

Ozocubu's Armour: It still doesn't work with armour of EVP 2 or more. Getting hit by or using a fire attack temporarily melts the armour. Quaffing potions takes an extra turn in order to thaw them.

Stone Skin: Rename to "Lehudib's Metallurgy". Enhances the AC of metal armour based on your earth magic skill. Attacking with melee temporarily removes the bonus.

Phase shift: Teleport takes a turn or two longer to work. EV is based on TLOC skill.

Regeneration: Scale the power based on necromancy skill. Regeneration hunger cost remains.

Flight: remove the stealth and carrying capacity bonuses. No penalties besides MP cost and airstrike vulnerability.

Repel/deflect missiles: I'm hoping to remove it. The effect will be moved to potion of agility: you get rmsl for a few turns after quaffing.

---

Some of these are only half-baked, and other spells I don't have any idea on. In particular, shrould of golubria, condensation shield, sure blade, and weapon brand spells.
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Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Tuesday, 16th July 2013, 17:04

Re: betterbuffs

I like the concept of downsides to permanent buffs introducing strategic decisions.

The proposals for Ozocubu's Armour and Phase Shift sound really good.

Swiftness might work. I guess that if you find swiftness before armour pieces, you'll use it. Otherwise, you'll choose between two sets: armor/lots of air skill/swiftness, or armour/little air skill/no swiftness. I doubt the third way, No Armour/ little air skill/ swiftness would get much traction outside felids and octopodes.

Taking Stone Skin away from Draconians, Octopodes, Trolls, and Ogres, along with most spell casters (who want to use robes or dragon armours) and hybrid fighters (who want to use weapons) seems like a bad idea. Maybe while stone-skinned, any turn when you don't move (because you're casting a spell or fighting or whatever), you get an "anchor" status, and the first move is slow and takes away the anchor.

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Post Tuesday, 16th July 2013, 17:16

Re: betterbuffs

pubby wrote:Swiftness: The speed boost now depends on the amount of armour slots you're wearing and your air magic skill. At low levels you'll have to be naked to go fast. A few levels later you can wear one piece, then two, and so on. Still weakens stealth and trap finding.

I like this
pubby wrote:Ozocubu's Armour: It still doesn't work with armour of EVP 2 or more. Getting hit by or using a fire attack temporarily melts the armour. Quaffing potions takes an extra turn in order to thaw them.

This already has a drawback of not working with medium armour, being melted, and having the AC be dependent on skill (Which now seems to be slightly more the case with the failure rating you mentioned impacting it) I was already reluctant to use this spell with anything other than an ice elementalist because the AC could drop out when an orc wizard shot a throw flame at me, with a full-turn delay for potion use I would never use it, the whole point of potions is that they are your emergency backup plan, if you can't use them in an emergency they aren't very useful. Also, is not a drawback for mummies. (Perhaps not a *full* turn delay, but a partial one?)
pubby wrote:Stone Skin: Rename to "Lehudib's Metallurgy". Enhances the AC of metal armour based on your earth magic skill. Attacking with melee temporarily removes the bonus.

So this is only usable by spellcasters who don't attack in melee but are wearing metal armour? This seems like a pretty small selection of players, if you attack with spells you probably do *not* want to use metal armour, and by the time you're powerful enough to do so, you want dragon armour. Obviously if you're a melee attacker with spell support this isn't very helpful. I suppose if you're a ranged combatant who wears metal armour, casts earth spells but also gets in range of things attacking them this might be useful..
I'd rather see something like "each hit lowers the AC bonus for a while"
pubby wrote:Phase shift: Teleport takes a turn or two longer to work. EV is based on TLOC skill.

I like this (I've always felt like phase shift's EV bonus should be dependent on either TLOC or just spell power)
pubby wrote:Regeneration: Scale the power based on necromancy skill. Regeneration hunger cost remains.

By "Scale the power" do you mean "the rate at which you regenerate"
pubby wrote:Flight: remove the stealth and carrying capacity bonuses. No penalties besides MP cost and airstrike vulnerability.

Carry capacity bonuses were already nuked, the stealth bonus was the main reason I used this, but I suppose having it be a perma buff eliminates the possibility of it wearing off mid flight and dropping you into the ocean, which makes it better than every version of flight except the boots.
pubby wrote:Repel/deflect missiles: I'm hoping to remove it. The effect will be moved to potion of agility: you get rmsl for a few turns after quaffing.

This will make some branches MUCH harder (i.e. elf) admittedly getting rmsl from agility potions would be a plus and make them more attractive. Perhaps remove rmsl, give it's effect to the potion, and make deflect missiles a perma-buff give it a movement detriment? Although it's high price and training requirements do put it outside the ken of casual spellcasters at a level that's currently able to do elf.
pubby wrote:
---

Some of these are only half-baked, and other spells I don't have any idea on. In particular, shrould of golubria, condensation shield, sure blade, and weapon brand spells.

Weapon brand spells are already nerfed sufficiently that they aren't used extensively into the late game, and probably should be tactical in nature anyway. (If you're using weapon brands late game, you're adapting them to each combat)
Shroud of Golubria might be a candidate for perma-buffing, however part of it's nature is that it is destroyed, so it's got a built-in drawback, Perhaps spell power could control how quickly it came back up after it was broken?
I would make sure blade weaken after each successful attack and strengthen back again after it hadn't been used in a while, it's already spell power dependent.
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Snake Sneak

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Post Tuesday, 16th July 2013, 18:02

Re: betterbuffs

pubby wrote:Repel/deflect missiles: I'm hoping to remove it. The effect will be moved to potion of agility: you get rmsl for a few turns after quaffing.

My poor deep elf mages will get completely destroyed by centaurs/yaktaurs! The side effect would be to make the already quite powerfull mephitic cloud completely mandatory.

Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 16th July 2013, 19:00

Re: betterbuffs

Seems to me like a large stealth penalty to Rmsl and Dmsl might be a more appropriate downside. The wind generated by the deflection shield is noisy.

Blades Runner

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Post Tuesday, 16th July 2013, 19:11

Re: betterbuffs

Velikolepni wrote:
pubby wrote:Repel/deflect missiles: I'm hoping to remove it. The effect will be moved to potion of agility: you get rmsl for a few turns after quaffing.

My poor deep elf mages will get completely destroyed by centaurs/yaktaurs! The side effect would be to make the already quite powerfull mephitic cloud completely mandatory.


Since having Repel Missiles at least is basically ubiquitous now, why not just remove it and give all ranged monsters an accuracy nerf?
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Crypt Cleanser

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Post Tuesday, 16th July 2013, 20:01

Re: betterbuffs

Taking Stone Skin away from Draconians, Octopodes, Trolls, and Ogres, along with most spell casters (who want to use robes or dragon armours) and hybrid fighters (who want to use weapons) seems like a bad idea. Maybe while stone-skinned, any turn when you don't move (because you're casting a spell or fighting or whatever), you get an "anchor" status, and the first move is slow and takes away the anchor.

They can still use ozocubu's or phase shift.

with a full-turn delay for potion use I would never use it, the whole point of potions is that they are your emergency backup plan, if you can't use them in an emergency they aren't very useful.

Yeah, the potion idea wasn't perfect. Still, it seems like it would work so long as the added AC trumps the potion penalty. I'm not sure what this value is though.

if you attack with spells you probably do *not* want to use metal armour, and by the time you're powerful enough to do so, you want dragon armour.

Currently this is true. If there was a spell that promoted the use of metal armour then this could easily change, especially if it makes metal armour competitive with dragon.

I'd rather see something like "each hit lowers the AC bonus for a while"

There's not really a penalty to this though. It makes the spell worse, but it wouldn't really change up gameplay.

By "Scale the power" do you mean "the rate at which you regenerate"

Yes.

and make deflect missiles a perma-buff give it a movement detriment? Although it's high price and training requirements do put it outside the ken of casual spellcasters at a level that's currently able to do elf.

This sounds reasonable.

Weapon brand spells are already nerfed sufficiently that they aren't used extensively into the late game, and probably should be tactical in nature anyway

I agree. One idea I had was to have brand spells halve the weapon's enchantments. ie +8/+6 becomes +4/+3.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 16th July 2013, 20:22

Re: betterbuffs

pubby wrote:
Taking Stone Skin away from Draconians, Octopodes, Trolls, and Ogres, along with most spell casters (who want to use robes or dragon armours) and hybrid fighters (who want to use weapons) seems like a bad idea. Maybe while stone-skinned, any turn when you don't move (because you're casting a spell or fighting or whatever), you get an "anchor" status, and the first move is slow and takes away the anchor.

They can still use ozocubu's or phase shift.


Neither of which is a substitute for Stoneskin, particularly as Ozocubu's is harder to cast and you need to invest a lot into ice magic to have it be useful (Fire magic users have traditionally had "earth" as their defensive school, and Ice magic users have been able to use non-opposed air magic without penalty) removing stoneskin from Fire magic users leaves a weird balance issue.

Phase shift is not a substitute for stone skin (Or Ozocubu's), particularly if your EV is already high and your AC is very very low (As it is for the very people you're taking stoneskin away from).

Modifying stone skin in the way you suggest is doable, but there's a lot of outlying work that would need to be done to rebalance things which is outside the scope of what you mention here.
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Post Tuesday, 16th July 2013, 20:51

Re: betterbuffs

plantaspoon wrote:Seems to me like a large stealth penalty to Rmsl and Dmsl might be a more appropriate downside. The wind generated by the deflection shield is noisy.

I liked the modification of the amulet of the air that paired rMsl with Inaccuracy. That could be an interesting drawback to a spell that protects against missiles if the effect were significant enough. (i.e. you're safe(r) from projectiles, but your projectiles don't work so well either)

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Post Tuesday, 16th July 2013, 20:54

Re: betterbuffs

I have to say, while I *LOVE* the idea of permabuffs but I feel that you're making it far too complicated - especially by having them affect/interact with other things such as potions/armour or creating other undesirable effects.

The buffs already work well as they are, and I don't think they need such radical changes - the permanent (whilst activated) loss of MP is a pretty big downside, plus if they take a few turns to activate/turn off, they won't be able to be worked around quickly. If you still felt they were too strong, I'd recommend just changing the spell power scaling so that they were harder (with a more gradual curve) to get to full power - there really is no need for such a drastic overhaul (which would require months of balancing).

Also, you can't be serious about wanting to get rid of repel/deflect missiles?!?! As much as I'm all for making crawl harder, it'd mean insta-death for most non-heavy armour users to yakpaks/centaur packs.
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Spider Stomper

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Post Tuesday, 16th July 2013, 20:55

Re: betterbuffs

I'm still wishing for a solution to the permabuff situation. I'd be willing to sacrifice the efficacy of buffs and summons if it means we can permify them.

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Post Tuesday, 16th July 2013, 21:57

Re: betterbuffs

Removing stoneskin from melee fighters makes me a sad panda. Keep stoneskin working the way it does; i don't think an extra 3-5 ac is too overpowering (it would lower your max mana by 2, which is enough of a trade off). If desired you could increase the amount of mana reserved? or add slight noise to walking? It shouldn't spontaneously disable when you attack or are hit, though.

Also I am the one who would be crazy enough to perm statue form, although I suppose I could deal with it not being perm.

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