Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)


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Barkeep

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Post Sunday, 25th December 2016, 20:11

Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

Instead of the transmutation school, I propose a set of objects that, when equipped in the weapon slot, transform the player character. Thus, instead of spells, we would have:
  • Spider form -> Spider-silk Harp
  • Ice form -> Icicle Chimes
  • Blade hands -> Swordmetal Gong
  • Hydra form -> Lernaean Lyre
  • Dragon form -> Dragon Flute
I've flavored them as instruments, but you could probably make them into whatever you like. They would have the following mechanics:
  • All instruments have the {curse} property; once you start playing, you have to use ?rc to stop.
  • The transformation's bonuses are keyed off of evocations; using other evokers, however, is not possible while transformed.
  • Felids, clever kittens that they are, use instruments the same way they use wands, which is to say however you want to pretend that works.
Beastly appendage is removed, and the Tm background now begins with a Spider-silk Harp. Statue Form becomes an amulet that gives you XP-gated Slow when you take it off, and Necromutation is an amulet that torments you when you take it off or drains you, whichever. Everything else loses tmut without replacement or gets a new second (or third) school.

Purpose: I don't care for having to recast buffs, and I think this neatly solves that problem while creating some new wrinkles. Statue form and necromut are both spells that feel materially different from the rest of tmut, so they get moved to amulets. Beastly appendage feels insubstantial and frustrating to use, in my experience, while the rest of the spells are all a) quite effective and b) only require you to meet the safe casting threshold and no more. By keying these transformations to evocations, we can make them a little more power-dependent (perhaps with bonuses scaling from virtually nothing at 0 evo to significantly better than current tmuts at 27) without affecting other evokers' power, since you need to remove your cursed instrument before using any wands or rods.

Things that probably need improvement: I'm not really in love with the curse mechanic in general, so I'm not sure if there's a better solution elsewhere. Maybe it would be fine to allow these transformations to be quickly dropped? Maybe there's a significant cooldown instead, so that you can't switch transformations mid battle? I also think that if you throw in beastly appendage as a 0* ability, the tmut spells I've made into instruments already fit a nice progression for a god, which would also be better than the status quo.
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Post Sunday, 25th December 2016, 20:26

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

There's no real reason for Transmutations to expire, imo. It's not like Charms where people will try to cast rmsl by taking their armor off. Most of the spells you listed meld all body armor except blades hands, which has its own drawbacks.
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Post Sunday, 25th December 2016, 20:30

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

Would we even want a Transmuter background if these changes were implemented? Given that the archetype would be wholly tied to finding more of these items, it seems strange to even have them as a background, what would their starting skills/equipment be beyond the harp?

Would the transformations still benefit from training unarmed combat? That would further limit their usability, since players probably wouldn't train UC on the off-chance they find some of these, unless they were already Trolls or Ghouls or something like that.

Incidentally, naming them after musical instruments could be confusing, as players may assume they make noise (do they?).
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Post Sunday, 25th December 2016, 20:38

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

TS, you're not wrong, but having some spell buffs be permanent and some expire and some expire only after getting hit, etc., starts to get kind of dumb. I especially dislike permabuff spells; why have it tied into MP and spellcasting and hunger and all the rest of it if it's permanent?

Dioneo, we could take out the Tm background, sure. I like it though, and I think there are lots of backgrounds "wholly tied to finding more of these items," like every melee class. Maybe it would work better if they were more like weapons, with enchantments and whatnot, so that you can find "better" instruments, artefact instruments, etc.?

And yes, I was under the impression they'd still have to train UC, which does limit their usability but no more so than tmut spells are already limited. As I said, we could flavor them as any kind of item, but I would say that the noise of transforming and untransforming would be significant if they stay instruments, though.

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Post Sunday, 25th December 2016, 20:52

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

archaeo wrote:Dioneo, we could take out the Tm background, sure. I like it though, and I think there are lots of backgrounds "wholly tied to finding more of these items," like every melee class. Maybe it would work better if they were more like weapons, with enchantments and whatnot, so that you can find "better" instruments, artefact instruments, etc.?


I was assuming that these items would be fairly rare, which was why I was concerned about the aspiring Transmuter being very vulnerable to RNG. The same problem also exists with UC; current transmuters are guaranteed some use for their skill investment given their starting book, but that guarantee could disappear depending on the item rarity.

The question then becomes: how rare do you expect these to be? You made the comparison to melee classes so is that the kind of balance you're aiming for? Where a Spider Silk Harp is about as rare as a Flail/Glaive and a Gong/Lyre is at the level of a Demon Whip or Bardiche? That would certainly eliminate my above concerns, but having such plentiful access to transmutations could introduce other problems of balance.
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Post Sunday, 25th December 2016, 21:01

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

I write this as somebody who plays transmuter almost exclusively. I do not consider myself a pro player by any means, but I think I can say that I learned a thing or two about transmutations.

I appreciate the audacity of your proposal in that it throws everything we know out of the window and starts from scratch. We need more of that kind of thinking in crawl. Also the idea that crawl finally gets something music-related that doesn't suck afwuly (looking at you, Skald) is intriguing. However, I don't think it would be an improvement over the status quo in this case.

First, I honeslty don't see the problem. You bind your spells to a key, you press it, you transform, you pummel things, rinse and repeat. I only had to recast the same form mid-fight very early on or if it got dispelled in Zot and in neither case I found it "tedious". Tmut is already the most tab-friendly form of magic there is. If people are starting to get to lazy to press a single key to do something in a game, then I'm not sure what we are doing here.

Second, being stuck in a form is not something you actually want as all of them have significant drawbacks and are a poor choice for certain situations. In fact, I find we should try to aim for the opposite: reward the player for using the right form in the right situation, use the right tool for the right situation. You are a shapeshifter, for crying out loud. The part of the game this works best is lair: Lindwurm or molten gargoyle? You revert from ice form to human form or assume spider form. Hydra? Can't use your blade hands on that. Poisonous and cold blooded? Ice Form. Yak pack? Spider form or blade hands. The same is true for higher level forms except maybe hydra/dragon as I see dragon as superior in almost every situation but it is also significantly harder to learn so I guess it's alright.

Also, the curse mechanic, as you already pointed out, sounds terrible and more annoying than any once-per encounter key press ever will be.

How are the amulets supposed to work? Can I be statue form on D:1? I sounds pretty broken tbh. Also, I don't see why statue or necro are different from the other forms except their list of pros/cons is a little more extensive than some of the "simpler" spells.

I agree that beastly appendage feels rather underwhelming and something should be done about it.

Not a fan of the god idea either since obviosly for me tmut + god choice is more fun than only tmut.

The thing for me that's missing in the tmut school atm is a form that has decent defenses (all monstrous forms have terribel AC and EV) and is not staute form. And a high-end melee (or ultimate with benefits for both magic and melee) transmutation that is not lichform since that one is tailored towards casting (I sometimes still used it because you can offset the pitiful base damage with UC skill and for the resistances/immunities it provides but it certainly doesn't feel epic for melee).

Edit: Now refreshing rmsl on the other hand is quite annoying as it falls off at the most inorportune moments and it is something you want to have always active no matter what unlike forms.
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Barkeep

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Post Sunday, 25th December 2016, 21:17

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

Dioneo wrote:The question then becomes: how rare do you expect these to be? You made the comparison to melee classes so is that the kind of balance you're aiming for? Where a Spider Silk Harp is about as rare as a Flail/Glaive and a Gong/Lyre is at the level of a Demon Whip or Bardiche? That would certainly eliminate my above concerns, but having such plentiful access to transmutations could introduce other problems of balance.

I'd say melee balance is where I'd peg it, and I don't think it would be difficult to balance with melee and good spell schools. You trade equipment and access to wands/rods for power and some bonuses, and using instruments requires training UC and Evo instead of a single skill.

removeelyvilon wrote:First, I honeslty don't see the problem. You bind your spells to a key, you press it, you transform, you pummel things, rinse and repeat. I only had to recast the same form mid-fight very early on or if it got dispelled in Zot and in neither case I found it "tedious". Tmut is already the most tab-friendly form of magic there is. If people are starting to get to lazy to press a single key to do something in a game, then I'm not sure what we are doing here.

I simply dislike unnecessary repetitiveness. I feel the same way about food and charms; if it's already effectively acting like equipment I have to put on before every fight, or is something I have to constantly reapply, I don't see why it shouldn't be permanent, and as I said to tabstorm above, I'm not hugely into permanent spells/the problems with them have been explored in a large amount of depth across other threads.

In fact, I find we should try to aim for the opposite: reward the player for using the right form in the right situation, use the right tool for the right situation.

This would only exacerbate the repetitiveness problems, in my opinion, as I'd be doing significantly more swapping if each spell was made more situational. I also tend to think jewelry, consumables, and spells are where situational tools are located, whereas current tmut spells, each of which (of the ones I've made into instruments) is more or less straight better than the last one, are a lot more like weapons already.

How are the amulets supposed to work? Can I be statue form on D:1? I sounds pretty broken tbh. Also, I don't see why statue or necro are different from the other forms except their list of pros/cons is a little mor extensive than some of the "simpler" spells.

They're different because weapons don't get melded, more or less, and I don't think they're overpowered anywhere they could generate. An amulet of faith or regen is probably preferable to wear in most or all situations.

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Post Sunday, 25th December 2016, 21:31

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

You mention "bonuses" scaling with Evocations, what does that entail? Given that all forms come with different innate resistances/defenses and also meld different levels of your equipment, wouldn't you still find yourself changing forms a lot, thus retaining the tedium you hope to get rid of?

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Post Sunday, 25th December 2016, 21:41

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

archaeo wrote:And yes, I was under the impression they'd still have to train UC, which does limit their usability but no more so than tmut spells are already limited. As I said, we could flavor them as any kind of item, but I would say that the noise of transforming and untransforming would be significant if they stay instruments, though.


Actually it limits them even more, when you start as a transmuter, you are guaranteed to have enough spells to get you pretty far into the game, increasing the value of the uc investment, with no guarantee of getting the higher level tranmutations, there is little to no incentive to train uc over a non-evocation requiring melee skill.
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Post Sunday, 25th December 2016, 21:46

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

archaeo wrote:TS, you're not wrong, but having some spell buffs be permanent and some expire and some expire only after getting hit, etc., starts to get kind of dumb. I especially dislike permabuff spells; why have it tied into MP and spellcasting and hunger and all the rest of it if it's permanent? .

Presumably because they weren't thought out well when they were added and the things like hunger costs are carryovers from Nethack.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Sunday, 25th December 2016, 22:01

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

Btw, what about the "alchemical" tmut spells like irradiate, petrify and so on?

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Post Monday, 26th December 2016, 19:57

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

removeelyvilon wrote:Btw, what about the "alchemical" tmut spells like irradiate, petrify and so on?

Move them to hexes, then remove hexes.
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Post Wednesday, 28th December 2016, 01:23

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

If you really hate punching an extra non tab-key every fight it seems like a much much simpler solution to just... not have forms other than blade hands/appendage expire until you end them? I assume they're currently time limited to stop brilliancewiz statue form cheese but that could be managed by just... bumping the spell level of statue up? Or just make the online interface not objectively awful compared to offline with macro's and fix all "spell tedium" in one fell swoop.

Like I get that "spells as equips are bad! (somehow fsr) but this change just sounds like another sort of tedium in the form of really excessive inventory/stash management and "expected drop" syndrome.

Seriously the issue with equipment as spells is... it's alternately luck gating things out of arbitrary high% of games encouraging ye olde startscum, or is still the exact same problem as before... just with a noticeably worse interface. (in this case as removeely pointed out it takes the average lair fight from 1-3 nontabs to 10+ ignoring the curseing consumable burn)

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Post Wednesday, 28th December 2016, 09:10

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

It's not clear to me what OP is trying to achieve. One can't really plan a Tm character based on finding items. Tm is halfway decent because you can survive early game using spider form, and blade hands is really good all the way and it is in your starting book. Or, would Tms receive all these items at the beginning (it's not clear)? Otherwise, Tm is very XP-hungry. Can one imagine a situation in mid-dungeon and Lair where one finds one of these items and is tempted to switch? I can't.

Imo, just make transmutations not expire until you end them. The MP cost is not significant; it's very rare that one can't cast blade hands because one doesn't have 5 MP. They have their own disadvantages; many of them meld armour, and blade hands doesn't allow wand use and increases spell failure rate (the reason for the latter is unclear to me).

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Post Wednesday, 28th December 2016, 10:08

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

I have an alternate idea.

What is the reason that OP and others might see casting transmutations as tedious and a waste of time? Maybe it's because once you have it online and you are a caster built around the school, there are no real reasons to ever not be in one form or another. Some of you are proposing to make these buffs permanent to avoid the tedium, but what if it were actually an interesting choice instead of just a tedious recasting?

My proposal goes like this: have a "cooldown" period after each transformation elapses, similar to exhaustion. Hell, just make it cause exhaustion directly, even. During this cool down period, you would be unable to go back into *any* form. This would make it an interesting decision with obvious repercussions, and would at least make it not-tedious, because timing of when to cast it would represent an important decision that might make or break your fight, or cause you to use consumables. Cool down period and length of transformation scale with spellpower, which also makes spellpower an important choice for transmutation characters beyond simply getting it castable.

This can be accompanied with a slight buff to most forms, except maybe statue, cause I think that one is already pretty OP tbh. Exhaustion length can also be related to spell level (i.e. Beastly appendage exhausts you less than necromut)
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Post Wednesday, 28th December 2016, 10:36

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

Well how about a few things instead:
1 shapes have active abilities and unlock abilities based on skill rank (or level)
2 the spell school becomes a racial feature (moving non morph spells to other schools)
3 shapes last until ended (it takes some time to complete a morph)

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Post Wednesday, 28th December 2016, 11:54

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

archaeo wrote:Purpose: I don't care for having to recast buffs

removeelyvilon wrote:First, I honeslty don't see the problem. You bind your spells to a key, you press it, you transform, you pummel things, rinse and repeat. I only had to recast the same form mid-fight very early on or if it got dispelled in Zot and in neither case I found it "tedious".

I simply dislike unnecessary repetitiveness. I feel the same way about food and charms; if it's already effectively acting like equipment I have to put on before every fight, or is something I have to constantly reapply, I don't see why it shouldn't be permanent, and as I said to tabstorm above, I'm not hugely into permanent spells/the problems with them have been explored in a large amount of depth across other threads.

removeelyvilon wrote:Second, being stuck in a form is not something you actually want as all of them have significant drawbacks and are a poor choice for certain situations. In fact, I find we should try to aim for the opposite: reward the player for using the right form in the right situation, use the right tool for the right situation.

This would only exacerbate the repetitiveness problems, in my opinion, as I'd be doing significantly more swapping if each spell was made more situational. I also tend to think jewelry, consumables, and spells are where situational tools are located, whereas current tmut spells, each of which (of the ones I've made into instruments) is more or less straight better than the last one, are a lot more like weapons already.

So, the issue here is "Tmut is kinda like Charms in that you're recasting buffs for every fight". It's not as bad as the old Charms' "let me put on my 5 buffs before every fight" tedium, but it's non-negligible. Made worse if it's a no-brainer to always pick the same form for every fight. But the thing about Tmut is that each form is a package of effects and forms are mutually exclusive.

I side with removeelyvilon's view of "make forms an actual interesting choice" - achieved in Lair but not so much afterwards. archaeo's objection to this is that Tmut forms 'feel more like weapons than situational tools' due to each form being 'more or less straight better than the last one'. There are 2 ways to solve this: change the monster set (of every branch) or change the forms. The latter is much more feasible.

bel wrote:Imo, just make transmutations not expire until you end them.
From the Charms discussion, we reached a consensus of "perma-Charms is bad". Perhaps there might be an argument for Tmut being different enough to Charms to warrant perma-buff but I'm not going to think on that.

tankra wrote:have a "cooldown" period after each transformation elapses, similar to exhaustion. Hell, just make it cause exhaustion directly, even. During this cool down period, you would be unable to go back into *any* form. This would make it an interesting decision with obvious repercussions, and would at least make it not-tedious, because timing of when to cast it would represent an important decision that might make or break your fight, or cause you to use consumables.
This too is a common thing that came up in the Charms discussion. Put simply, you haven't considered the hyperoptimal player's behaviour: "I have a time-based cooldown on this? Ok I press '5' a bunch of times between each fight. Hunger irrelevant."
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Post Wednesday, 28th December 2016, 12:07

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

Sorry if I sound dumb, but why do we need a tmut reform in the first place? It's fine for me as it is.
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Post Wednesday, 28th December 2016, 12:09

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

Psieye wrote:
bel wrote:Imo, just make transmutations not expire until you end them.
From the Charms discussion, we reached a consensus of "perma-Charms is bad". Perhaps there might be an argument for Tmut being different enough to Charms to warrant perma-buff but I'm not going to think on that.

I am not aware of any consensus, whatever that means. But, in my view, Charms is best fixed in the current version by making them permanent while simultaneously decreasing max MP (they can still be dispelled for whatever reason). The same model is fine for Tmut, in my opinion, except that the MP cost is insignificant in 99% of the cases for Tmut.

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Post Wednesday, 28th December 2016, 16:49

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

bel wrote:
Psieye wrote:
bel wrote:Imo, just make transmutations not expire until you end them.
From the Charms discussion, we reached a consensus of "perma-Charms is bad". Perhaps there might be an argument for Tmut being different enough to Charms to warrant perma-buff but I'm not going to think on that.

I am not aware of any consensus

https://crawl.develz.org/tavern/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=21846

Look for dpeg's post containing:
dpeg wrote:This comes up all the time.

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Post Wednesday, 28th December 2016, 17:11

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

Off topic uuuuh. Personaly I'm fine with charms as they were post perma rmissile... seriously the only consensus reached in that thread was that nobody has any fucking clue how to "fix" charms without fucking them up horribly or uuuh, spending 2 seconds to make a set of convenient macros. There is such a thing as overtuning.

On topic, while it's true that Tmut's "such choice wow" falls off midgame that's generally because you are in crawls midgame. The background is actually really well paced for DCSS's game progression overall.

I would like to see more incentive to go into transmutations on uuuuh, non-Uac/EE/megazig dudes though.
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Post Wednesday, 28th December 2016, 17:44

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

As it is now, I don't see any advantage in doing what the OP suggests. Transmuter already works (as a starting background), and the proposal would mess it up.

But I fully agree with whoever thinks that Transmutations as a school is weird because you have no reason to pick it up later if you like using your weapon, and that this is bad. Nec has many useful spells, earth has passwall & many more, then there's the blink family, and so on. But Transm is almost completely unarmed-only. The proposal doesn't correct that: it just adds a number of items for UA users. I'd like to see a few new transm spells that revolve around weapons. An old proposal of mine was a spell to change weapon school and type, so that you can pick up a triple sword and use it like an axe using your axe skill, with cleaving, keeping the triple sword stats and draining your MP with each strike. It's a bit crude and I'm sure it would mess up something, but I think that adding some interaction between transm and your weapon is the way to go.
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Post Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 00:12

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

To address a general point: maybe "tedium" or "repetitiveness" isn't the right way to describe what I dislike about mechanics like transmutations, charms, and food. What really frustrates me about the design of these mechanics is that they impose a non-trivial cost on the player's attention for wholly trivial purposes. Buffs expiring or the possibility of starvation only impact the player in a vanishing number of goodplayer situations and feel like cheap deaths for new players. Likewise, the fact that buff spells require a skill XP investment to be usable at all is far less interesting than the tradeoffs one sees with equipment, where you can use something earlier at the cost of shield penalties or slow weapon speed and the like.

Meanwhile, the actual cost of these mechanics is impactful. The flow of gameplay gets interrupted every time you have to recast a spell, and having a buff feels so important that many players go so far as to force a "-more-" press whenever a form is about to expire. Making tmut spells permanent doesn't work with the current spell paradigm; MP and spell levels aren't designed around offering the player pseudo-equipment, and all of the suggested fixes for this either don't solve the problem (max MP costs) or would be unplayably unfun (continual MP drain).

It doesn't seem like many people (or devs!) share my view on this, but nevertheless. Now to respond to some points I didn't get to earlier:

Siegurt wrote:Actually it limits them even more, when you start as a transmuter, you are guaranteed to have enough spells to get you pretty far into the game, increasing the value of the uc investment, with no guarantee of getting the higher level tranmutations, there is little to no incentive to train uc over a non-evocation requiring melee skill.

I'm not sure how this is meaningfully different from any other skill investment in Crawl, Siegurt.If it's really a problem, you could make the items keyed off of UC instead and then tune them to provide far more modest melee benefits than they do presently.

e: on reflection, the biggest difference is that the Tm background provides what is effectively a complete set of weapons when you start the game, especially since blade hands is more than enough to win a 3-rune game (or a 15-rune game with good equips). That seems more like a bug than a feature, frankly. This goes for Shtopit's criticism as well, as the notion that the Tm background "works" is a little suspect in my opinion.

bel wrote:It's not clear to me what OP is trying to achieve. One can't really plan a Tm character based on finding items.

You realize, of course, that this is exactly what every melee character does? With a similar number of items, no less?

Tm is halfway decent because you can survive early game using spider form, and blade hands is really good all the way and it is in your starting book. Or, would Tms receive all these items at the beginning (it's not clear)? Otherwise, Tm is very XP-hungry. Can one imagine a situation in mid-dungeon and Lair where one finds one of these items and is tempted to switch? I can't.

As I (thought I?) noted, these items would be keyed off evocations and tmut would be removed as a skill. Assuming that you're training UC, why wouldn't you switch on evo and start branching out?

Imo, just make transmutations not expire until you end them. The MP cost is not significant; it's very rare that one can't cast blade hands because one doesn't have 5 MP.

This is exactly the problem with permabuffs: the MP cost is not significant. Why should they cost MP at all, if it's not going to be significant?

Psieye wrote:I side with removeelyvilon's view of "make forms an actual interesting choice" - achieved in Lair but not so much afterwards. archaeo's objection to this is that Tmut forms 'feel more like weapons than situational tools' due to each form being 'more or less straight better than the last one'. There are 2 ways to solve this: change the monster set (of every branch) or change the forms. The latter is much more feasible.

How, exactly, would you make forms "more situational"? What does that mean? How do you make forms an interesting choice? Because as far as I can tell, the interesting choices Crawl provides when it comes to developing responses to different situations is handled at the strategic level: nearly all skills are relatively narrow, and the only exception, evocations, has a design that provides breadth of effects in exchange for tradeoffs, making them an interesting and appropriate home for transmutations when you make them incompatible with wand use.

e: as an additional point, while I tend to like statue form and necromutation as amulets, I could honestly see a real advantage to making both of them capstone abilities for Chei and Yred, respectively. It would certainly be popular with speedrunners (tabstorm would probably pay the devs in exchange for built-in statue Chei) and casual players alike without representing such a significant buff as to make it unreasonable, as long as one considers that neither Chei-with-statue or Yred-with-necromut would be unbalanced when you compare them to Trog, Veh, Makh, or, uh, Kiku. Just another idea.

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Post Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 04:58

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

archaeo wrote:You realize, of course, that this is exactly what every melee character does? With a similar number of items, no less?


So would these be as common as other weapons? Because that's a key thing. Melee characters can count on getting a pretty solid weapon by the end of dungeon or orc. Would these be as common? Could you reasonably count on finding a Swordmetal Gong by mid-game in the same way you can with a battleaxe or greatsword?

As I (thought I?) noted, these items would be keyed off evocations and tmut would be removed as a skill. Assuming that you're training UC, why wouldn't you switch on evo and start branching out?


Is scaling more things off of evocations a good idea? Nemelex was already moved to invocations partly because evocations is already an extremely strong skill without the bonuses, I'm not sure if it needs to do even more.

Personally, I believe that transmutations should be entirely decoupled from unarmed combat skill (and I've posted about this before). I'd like to see it either see it just scale with transmutations skill (which, in the case of instruments, could remain but behave like a weapon skill instead of being removed) or somehow use other weapon skills. I think it puts limitations on both the designs of transmutation and the balance of unarmed combat to have them coupled together (although even if they were decoupled unarmed combat's balance would have problems with the existence of claws).
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Post Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 06:10

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

Quaz, I see no particular reason these can't be made as common as weapons if the forms themselves are rebalanced with that in mind. It's possible, for example, that blade hands in particular needs some kind of nerf in exchange for allowing you to retain your armour, maybe with a Deformed Body mut, but I think if we continue to make the forms skill dependent in some way, that won't be necessary.

As for evo, it's worth remembering that the Nem nerfs came down before the recent evo nerfs. Given that these forms all prevent wand use (except perhaps dragon form??), and the only non-wand evokers are now both rare and limited, I think this would be a reasonable place for it. But as I said in my response to Siegurt, I don't think making it a "single school" skill with UC would be unbalanced, necessarily. I just assume that people want to retain the dual-skill thing. I also think your idea sounds perfectly acceptable.

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Post Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 06:42

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

Just a note. If instruments are going to be as common as weapons, they should be differentiated from each other, it won't be fun to find 10 Swordmetal Gongs during typical game. Maybe let them have "weapon" enchantment or even randart properties?
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Post Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 06:43

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

archaeo wrote:Why should they cost MP at all, if it's not going to be significant?

archaeo wrote:I don't care for having to recast buffs, and I think this neatly solves that problem


Recasting buffs or spells of any kind is neither a problem nor insignificant. The need to recast in exchange for (x) mana and 1 turn spent are the necessary drawbacks for spells with powerful effects or else they will be broken no-brainers that needs to be removed. If a low AC transmuter with exp points in transmutation and spellcasting run out of mana to cast forms, he will just be an underpowered UC char compared to a char who solely focused on training UC and wears heavier body armor. The same is true for conjurers except it's significantly worse for them. Running out of mana, whether for transmutations (especially if your Int is low 13s or 16s) or not is definitely not a rare occurrence. Mobs in a floor don't exactly vanish in a single cast of a spell and you cannot exactly control in the first place which/how much monsters on which place you're going to encounter.

You need to recognize the MP mechanic of this game ASAP if people are supposed to take you seriously.

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Post Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 07:37

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

archaeo wrote:
bel wrote:It's not clear to me what OP is trying to achieve. One can't really plan a Tm character based on finding items.

You realize, of course, that this is exactly what every melee character does? With a similar number of items, no less?

Tm is halfway decent because you can survive early game using spider form, and blade hands is really good all the way and it is in your starting book. Or, would Tms receive all these items at the beginning (it's not clear)? Otherwise, Tm is very XP-hungry. Can one imagine a situation in mid-dungeon and Lair where one finds one of these items and is tempted to switch? I can't.

As I (thought I?) noted, these items would be keyed off evocations and tmut would be removed as a skill. Assuming that you're training UC, why wouldn't you switch on evo and start branching out?


archaeo wrote:Quaz, I see no particular reason these can't be made as common as weapons if the forms themselves are rebalanced with that in mind. It's possible, for example, that blade hands in particular needs some kind of nerf in exchange for allowing you to retain your armour, maybe with a Deformed Body mut, but I think if we continue to make the forms skill dependent in some way, that won't be necessary.


I am still not clear about what you're proposing and why. If a Tm starts with a spider harp, this can take the player up to mid-dungeon, but what happens afterwards? Currently Tm has ice form and blade hands guaranteed - and in your proposal they aren't? How is one supposed to plan for the future? If the other items are as rare as elemental evokers (say), one may never find the blade hands item in the whole game. One can't really play the whole game with spider form. And UC is very XP intensive - if one goes down the path, it's hard to switch.

archaeo wrote:
bel wrote:Imo, just make transmutations not expire until you end them. The MP cost is not significant; it's very rare that one can't cast blade hands because one doesn't have 5 MP.

This is exactly the problem with permabuffs: the MP cost is not significant. Why should they cost MP at all, if it's not going to be significant?

I agree that the MP cost doesn't matter. The MP cost is just a side-effect of the fact that Blade Hands is lvl 5 and takes some XP to learn. I don't know of any other mechanic which manages this as simply. Perhaps one can make blade hands scale with evo or something in your proposal, but it seems non-trivial to design and implement.

If your aim is to reduce key-mashing for Tm, this goal can be more simply achieved by not making the forms expire unless the player ends them.

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Post Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 07:59

Re: Instruments of Transmutation (Tmut Reform Idea)

VAF, I think I said something to that effect upthread, yeah, that's a solid idea, and making randart versions sounds awesome.

ONIchinchin, I'm pretty sure people haven't ever taken me seriously, but I'm also pretty sure I understand MP, and buff spells in general and tmut spells in particular really aren't usefully limited by MP when assuming good play. Given that the majority of buff spells seem designed to work for "hybrids" of one kind or another, they are rarely competing with other spells for that MP, and you have to really try to run out of MP during normal play with a Tm unless you refuse to hit 5 or something. And that's not even considering that even this tepid limitation goes away very quickly as a character levels up, and I don't think I've ever seen a high-level Tm in trouble because of the MP costs of its spells. Even the turn it takes to recast is pretty small potatoes; if the difference between surviving and dying is that one turn, said turn probably wasn't the deciding factor, just the straw that broke the camel's back.

Maybe there's a huge number of players who have trouble with tmut MP consumption that I'm unaware of? All I know is that it's pretty hard to have an MP curve that usefully limits tmut without absolutely crushing the ability for casters to kill dudes with spells, while the MP curve we have is pretty good for conj but far more than the average Tm/Sk/AM needs.

bel, I haven't read the OP in a second, but if I said that they should be as rare as evokers, I was wrong. I think they ought to be only slightly more rare than the average weapon. And I'm pretty sure searching for "permanent buff site:crawl.develz.org" in google will turn up plenty of examples of people discussing why that idea is unlikely to work. My complaint is that a permanent buff is just a piece of equipment the game lets you equip in your spell slots, at which point we should consider cutting out the middleman and just make it into real equipment. Which is more or less what I tried to do.

As for it being non-trivial, I think reducing interface friction and flow interruption is a good thing for the game, which is why I've proposed lots of non-trivial things, like doing a similar thing with all charm spells or removing food and hunger costs. In my opinion, the effort would be worth it. I don't know that the devs share my opinion.

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