Proposal: Amulet of Inhibit Mutation


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Slime Squisher

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Post Tuesday, 16th December 2014, 00:43

Proposal: Amulet of Inhibit Mutation

So, having read the counter mutation thread has made me wonder how it would be possible to give players more control over mutations while at the same time preventing it from being a source of scumming or something specific to a spell school. This proposal might be as ill-fated as that other one, but anyway, here I go.

I have kind of taken inspiration from the amulet of Faith, I liked the idea of having an amulet that can potentialy offer long term benefits but at the same time can be hazardous if worn without previously identifying it.

If Resist Mutation is about not getting mutations in the first place, Inhibit Mutation is about your mutations not manifesting. When you start wearing this amulet nothing will happen but as you accrue experience it will start downgrading (meaning, make you lose ranks) or inhibiting your mutations. This doesn't mean you will lose them, only that they won't manifest. Of course this doesn't affect the usual racial stuff

The amulet can supress up to 6 (or whatever arbitrary number is considered balanced) mutation ranks, which means either six rank one mutations or two rank three mutations, for instance. Maybe there could be no cap, but acquiring those amounts of mutation supression could take time comparable to going from zero to full piety with your first god.

If not all mutations can be inhibited at the same time the amulet will periodically alternate active/inhibited ones as the user gains experience, bad mutations could have slightly heavier weighting than good ones, but overall the amulet should make no real distinction between good and bad mutations.

Dormant mutations appear greyed out in the A menu, much like when undergoing a transmutation.

But of course, there is a catch.

Removing the amulet once you are wearing it inflicts one random and one ( 66.6% random/33.3% bad) mutation, to prevent infinite dice rolling by players by putting it on and taking it off (They are not necessarily too bad if you take it off once, but if you do it repeteadly it will get worse and worse, again, exact numbers could vary). This also means wear-Id'ing amulets can be a bit more interesting again

Another catch could be that while wearing the amulet the player is more susceptible to further mutation, making external sources of mutations other than potions give two mutations instead of one (or just guaranteeing them to be bad 100% of the time if that is too much), making wearing the amulet even more important and kind of "trapping" the player into not being able to remove it.

Overall, this item is meant for characters that have been dealt such a bad hand when it comes to mutations (whether it is just a bad set, a really unfortunate mutation or loss of a very important armour slot) that they are willing to sacrifice their amulet slot entirely and risk further mutation just so they don't have to deal with them right now.

More ways to deal with mutation can also mean there could be more sources of them in the game too, though I wouldn't mind if this was not the case

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Post Tuesday, 16th December 2014, 03:00

Re: Proposal: Amulet of Inhibit Mutation

The problem I see with this is twofold:

First, the problem with the positive benefit: It only exists to trivialize mutations. Regardless of what downsides you put on it, you are essentially putting a temporary, but repeatable cure mutation potion in the hands of the player. Now obviously you try to prevent scumming by making it nontrivially mutate you, but unless you're already heavily mutated, curemut should fix you of whatever it gives you and any bad mutations whenever you find them; this essentially means that it can give the player ~4 "freebie" mutations with no downside. Why does the player need this? I dunno, mutations aren't a huge part of the game, though they can be build-breaking, like the new delayed scrolls or teleportitis.

Second, the downsides: This is way worse than randomly putting on an amulet of faith. In fact, it's nontrivially worse than randomly putting on a contaminated weapon artifact, and those are both far rarer and (obviously) only on artifacts, not just things strewn about the dungeon. To be more specific, amulets of faith both offer a much more fixable penalty than this amulet, and provide a *very* useful effect to any character that could be harmed by them. This amulet is both unlikely to help the majority of characters that might wear-ID it, and is designed to nontrivially gimp those players both for wearing it and removing it.

It's possible I've missed a popular opinion about mutations, but as far as I can tell, the trend seems to be towards tweaking current mutations and adding interesting mutations, but not some kind of overhaul to the mutation system. With that in mind, this amulet seems to be extremely bad for unspoiled players, while only being good for trivializing a system that experienced players can already avoid to a large extent, and adding more hassle for spoiled players who want to use their amulet slot.

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Post Tuesday, 16th December 2014, 03:07

Re: Proposal: Amulet of Inhibit Mutation

This sounds like it's basically just a more convoluted cure mutation potion that requires sacrificing your amulet slot to get its effects. There might be cases where a temporary cure mutation potion is an interesting and useful idea, but most of the time I can see three main uses for this:

1. I have bad mutations but no cure mutation potions, so I use this as a crappy poor man's cure mutation.

2. I've got a cripplingly bad mutation, but also some really good ones, so I decide to try to scum the amulet a few times to see if I can get the right one suppressed (if I was going to chug cure mutation anyway, may as well scum this to see if something better happens first)

3. I worship Jiyva and scum the amulet for free mutations because I can just cure the bad ones anyway (although there are pretty easy flavor arguments for giving having Jiyva forbid the amulet if this ends up being the only problem with it).

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Post Tuesday, 16th December 2014, 04:38

Re: Proposal: Amulet of Inhibit Mutation

Overall, this item is meant for characters that have been dealt such a bad hand when it comes to mutations

This only happens if you either
1) actively try to make it happen by purposely mutating your character (I don't see a reason that these characters should be helped out more than the already-existing options of Zin and Jiyva)
2) you play really badly around mutators (not killing them quickly, not blocking LOF, going to pan when you know mutators are going to be a problem for you, etc.) (this might be considered a subset of 1)
3) you worship Xom and get unlucky (this is basically a subset of 1)
4) you get super ridiculously unlucky. I don't mean standard bad luck, I mean this is so absurdly bad that it's never even come close to happening to me in over 700 online games. You'd need to do something like have a zot trap or summoning miscast summon a neqoxec and then get paralysed on the same turn and then get multiple bad muts before the paralysis ends while also never finding cure mut. While having already killed TRJ and while playing a demonspawn.

So even if we ignore that crawl already offers you several ways to deal with mutations re: equipment, I'm left asking this:
Why is it worth implementing a complicated piece of equipment like the proposed amulet, when the "problem" the amulet is trying to solve isn't even a problem? And then consider that rmut amulet and curemut potions exist....

As an aside:
Removing the amulet once you are wearing it inflicts one random and one ( 66.6% random/33.3% bad) mutation, to prevent infinite dice rolling by players by putting it on and taking it off

This is just alter self, except you cast it twice every time you remove the amulet, and it also has none of the ostensibly balancing factors that alter self had.

But even without the mutate-on-removal effect I don't see why this should be implemented.

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Post Tuesday, 16th December 2014, 05:15

Re: Proposal: Amulet of Inhibit Mutation

I take issue with the whole notion that any desire to manage mutations is somehow "scummy." It's no different than a desire to manage resistances and abilities using weapons or armor or jewelry, which is a principal part of the game in any analysis, and for the several species who have limited or no access to those means, a modified mutation game could turn something akin to drudgery into something approaching fun.

(Playing a felid right now, so this reminder of the hate so many seem to have for allowing any semblance of reasonable control over one's mutations touches a sore spot.)

Spider Stomper

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Post Tuesday, 16th December 2014, 07:17

Re: Proposal: Amulet of Inhibit Mutation

Aule, I think this is one of the times when commonly used jargon doesn't quite match up to what it would mean in other contexts. "Scummy" doesn't mean bad, or wrong. It means, roughly, doing a very boring, convoluted, or (in some cases, e.g. restarting floor 1 until you find a good weapon) out-of-game action repeatedly in order to generate a more "optimal" character.

There are plenty of ways to manage mutations that aren't scummy. Examples include pretty much all currently-existing ways to gain or lose mutations (Jiyva is the only one that you could sort of scum, and (s)he's got huge randomness to balance that out). You could also think of additional ways to make mutations not-scummy; a god-ability of Cure-Chosen-Mutation that you can only use once, for example.

But this amulet can be used in several "scummy" ways, which is something to look out for when designing content. Yes, for some people who get significantly mutated in a game, simply slapping this on could be a stopgap that allows for mutation management. That is the "optimal" use for this, ignoring whether or not simply generating a !curemut in place of the amulet would be pretty much the same. But, as an example of a "scummy" behavior this amulet encourages, if you have this amulet, you can safely chug any potion of !mut; if it gives you more negatives than positives, you can simply wear the amulet until you find a !curemut, and then remove all five mutations right there. Likewise, the infinite-mutation aspect allows you to directly convert Jiyva piety into good mutations (that will probably get shuffled away, granted).

So while the amulet might let you, in a non "scummy" way, control your mutations, it introduces several edge cases that allow for "scummy" play and are clearly not intended; it should be obvious that if an amulet of inhibit mutation can be used to (relatively) safely attempt to gain mutations, you've got a problem.

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Slime Squisher

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Post Tuesday, 16th December 2014, 09:02

Re: Proposal: Amulet of Inhibit Mutation

I've been reading the thread and I agree it was a misguided idea in the first place, mainly:

milski wrote:First, the problem with the positive benefit: It only exists to trivialize mutations. Regardless of what downsides you put on it, you are essentially putting a temporary, but repeatable cure mutation potion in the hands of the player. Now obviously you try to prevent scumming by making it nontrivially mutate you, but unless you're already heavily mutated, curemut should fix you of whatever it gives you and any bad mutations whenever you find them; this essentially means that it can give the player ~4 "freebie" mutations with no downside. Why does the player need this? I dunno, mutations aren't a huge part of the game, though they can be build-breaking, like the new delayed scrolls or teleportitis.


Basically, its trying to fix the mutation system where it isn't broken, and trivializing it in the proccess. Basically giving a reckless player the means to avoid the consequences of his actions (eg: repeated hasting or casting invis contam would not be a big deal) while screwing up legitimately good players with an useless amulet (or worst case scenario a couple of bad mutations).

The scumming aspects of it, it would probably be possible to tweak them so that it wouldn't be worth it to even try. But only if it was a good idea in the first place.

Still, I would love to see some other amulet that worked like faith.

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Post Tuesday, 16th December 2014, 09:30

Re: Proposal: Amulet of Inhibit Mutation

The problem with an amulet like faith is that you need to hit the exact same sweet spot faith hits: an amulet that can meaningfully but nonpermanently penalize you for removing it, while also offering long term rewards for keeping it on. Preferably, if it's like faith, you can also remove it after a long-time and still get a net positive.

Nothing that I can think of in Crawl really fits such a system, besides experience back when draining just lowered your XL experience permanently. For pretty much anything else, a "bad" amulet feels like it would probably have to be more in the style of inaccuracy, rather than faith.

Though I do think, given how often it's not great for you, cursed amulets of stasis might be interesting.
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Post Tuesday, 16th December 2014, 11:29

Re: Proposal: Amulet of Inhibit Mutation

Aule wrote:I take issue with the whole notion that any desire to manage mutations is somehow "scummy." It's no different than a desire to manage resistances and abilities using weapons or armor or jewelry, which is a principal part of the game in any analysis, and for the several species who have limited or no access to those means, a modified mutation game could turn something akin to drudgery into something approaching fun.

(Playing a felid right now, so this reminder of the hate so many seem to have for allowing any semblance of reasonable control over one's mutations touches a sore spot.)


I believe Crawl explicitly tries not to turn mutations into a resistance-like management system. So I don't think it's a matter of opinion, but a design principle. Devs can correct me, of course.
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Post Sunday, 21st December 2014, 05:43

Re: Proposal: Amulet of Inhibit Mutation

crate wrote:
4) you get super ridiculously unlucky. I don't mean standard bad luck, I mean this is so absurdly bad that it's never even come close to happening to me in over 700 online games. You'd need to do something like have a zot trap or summoning miscast summon a neqoxec and then get paralysed on the same turn and then get multiple bad muts before the paralysis ends while also never finding cure mut. While having already killed TRJ and while playing a demonspawn.


A nearly identical situation did happen to me once actually, except rather than a zot trap this took place in an abyss vault. I was paralyzed instantly and then very badly mutated to the point where I acquired most of the available bad muts (I died due to the mutations fairly soon after never finding a cure mut pot). I would agree though that there are already many viable solutions to removing mutations, and that this just feels like a superfluous solution to an uncommon problem.

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