Item Proposal: Crab and turtle-shell shields


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Halls Hopper

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Joined: Monday, 21st September 2015, 03:35

Post Saturday, 4th February 2017, 08:41

Item Proposal: Crab and turtle-shell shields

Background: Shields are useful but boring, in that their appropriate use is almost completely predetermined: any character using a one-handed weapon benefits from a buckler, shields make sense for a much more restricted set of builds, and large shields (as far as I can tell) are only worthwhile for formicids. This proposal adds more differentiation to Shields and enriches the gameworld by adding another class of monster-derived items.

Proposal: Upon death, all crabs and turtles have a chance (equivalent to the chance of troll and dragon armour generation) to leave behind an intact shell which can be used as a shield. Different types have different qualities and effects. To my knowledge, this involves the creation of five new items: fire crab shell, ghost crab shell, apocalypse crab shell, snapping turtle shell, and alligator snapping turtle shell, described below.

Details:
Crab shell penalties are all overcome at SH 4.0, same as a buckler
Fire crab shell: base shield 5, rF++
Ghost crab shell: base shield 5, rN++
Apocalypse crab shell: base shield 7, some kind of chaos or Tiamat resistance, or even weirder effects (suggestions welcome!); contamination when unequipped

Snapping turtle shell: base shield 10, penalties overcome at SH 15.0, same as a shield (this should maybe have some more interesting aspect than just 'a better shield', but I haven't thought of anything. Perhaps spines? Suggestions welcome!)

Alligator snapping turtle shell: unique mechanics. This shell is worn on the back. It provides shielding even when paralyzed or otherwise incapacitated, but also encumbers like heavy armor. Base shield 13, shield penalty overcome at SH 15.0, plus ER 10 (or higher; enough to make it truly cumbersome). The idea is this would only be usable by characters with high STR and DEX (in-game explanation: specific bodily maneuvers and carriage in order to use it as a body-shield) and would substantially inhibit casting. On the plus-side, it could even be possible for a character wearing the alligator snapping turtle shield to equip another shield in their off-hand (shield dual-wielding!); this would be at the cost of insurmountable penalties, but could prove fun and useful with certain builds in certain situations.

Gameplay considerations:
For a buckler user, switching to a crab shell if found would be a no-brainer, but I want to make them good enough that a user of shields (the item) might consider 'downgrading' in order to get some useful resistances. It would be nice to have a similar calculation regarding the regular snapping turtle shield, but again I haven't thought of a good mechanic. All of these items will be quite rare, since the monsters that spawn them are almost always confined to specific branches, and in the case of ghost crab and turtles, those branches (Swamp and Shoals) are mutually exclusive. They would thus be substantially less common than troll or dragon armours, and obtaining the apocalypse crab shell would require a deliberate Abyss hunt or extreme luck (by the time you're powerful enough to stalk the apocalypse crab through the Abyss without fear of dying, you don't really need its shell anyway; it's more of a trophy. Perhaps defeating multiple apocalypse crabs (say, 3) is necessary to obtain it--rather than dying, the apocalypse crab is pulled to another region of the Abyss, so you only really 'kill' it once). Because they are such rare items, I want them to be good and useful for those who find one, hence their not for the most part presenting significant drawbacks. None of these items are so powerful as to be unbalancing.

'Flavour' considerations:
Using a magical crab or turtle shell as a shield is cool and interesting. It provides another means for players to interact with their 'environment' (in this case, the remains of dead enemies) and thus brings the world of the dungeon a bit more to life.

For this message the author monkeytor has received thanks: 2
jwoodward48ss, Sar

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Saturday, 4th February 2017, 09:07

Re: Item Proposal: Crab and turtle-shell shields

What problem are you trying to solve here? You point out that large shields are bad but this proposal certainly isn't going to change that...so what's the motivation behind it?

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nago

Crypt Cleanser

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Joined: Saturday, 5th December 2015, 06:56

Post Saturday, 4th February 2017, 12:03

Re: Item Proposal: Crab and turtle-shell shields

Pretty cool proposal imo. Maybe couple it with lowering skill needed to remove shield penalty.

Halls Hopper

Posts: 68

Joined: Wednesday, 1st February 2017, 15:38

Post Saturday, 4th February 2017, 12:11

Re: Item Proposal: Crab and turtle-shell shields

Im pretty sure the goal of every piece of equipment is to make the game more boring by increasing your chances of winning it, so proposing shields with better stats or resistances is not gonna solve anything. If you have a good idea for a shield active ability or passive effect i welcome it, i dont have any.

Crypt Cleanser

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Joined: Thursday, 5th December 2013, 04:01

Post Sunday, 5th February 2017, 00:25

Re: Item Proposal: Crab and turtle-shell shields

I initially interpreted this as an attempt to make shield choice more interesting than just "how much experience are you willing to invest into shields?" But if that's the goal, then adding four shields that are strictly better than existing ones, and in particular none of which are a better version of a large shield (the worst one right now) doesn't seem like it would accomplish that in any way.

For the most part, this proposal may as well just be "buff small shields for characters who find a crab and medium shields for characters who find shoals." The alligator snapping turtle shell is the only one that adds anything new and isn't just a better version of an existing item, and it just seems over-complicated.

Halls Hopper

Posts: 66

Joined: Monday, 21st September 2015, 03:35

Post Sunday, 5th February 2017, 06:43

Re: Item Proposal: Crab and turtle-shell shields

Thanks for the feedback everyone. Here are some responses:
What problem are you trying to solve here?

Shields are boring. Not just from the pure numbers/functionalist standpoint favored on this forum but also from a gameworld standpoint. To me the most interesting thing about these new shields is that they become something to hope for or aspire to in the game. When I first read the description for fire crab, I expected it to drop an enchantable shell equivalent to the then-existing hides. I'm open to revising all mechanical details in order to create something more 'functionally' interesting, but I don't believe the mechanics I've given are irrational or pointless.
You point out that large shields are bad but this proposal certainly isn't going to change that

in particular none of which are a better version of a large shield (the worst one right now)

You are correct that this proposal doesn't address large shields. Rather, I accept large shields' general irrelevance by addressing the range of shields' practical use, i.e. bucklers to regular shields. The largest shield I propose has a penalty limit of 15, which is the limit of regular shields. Large shields are another matter. I would also welcome a 'solution' that isn't simple removal.
For the most part, this proposal may as well just be "buff small shields for characters who find a crab and medium shields for characters who find shoals."

If my proposal were troll leather armour, you could use the same logic: it is just "buff leather armour for characters who kill a couple trolls". Perhaps you want to remove troll leather armour but I think it's great. Again given the rarity of crabs and the lack of a guaranteed drop I don't think you're very likely to get any of the crab shells in any given game. In shoals you have a decent chance at the plain snapping turtle which I agree is the weakest part of the proposal right now. I think it's probable you'll only get one of any of these in any given game unless you do ziggurats, so consider it in that context. So yes, as you say, for a buckler user the crabshells are a pure buff, but what about the regular-shield user who finds one? Similarly, can we make the snapping-turtle shield good enough to tempt a buckler-user into sinking more experience into it?
Im pretty sure the goal of every piece of equipment is to make the game more boring by increasing your chances of winning it

This is only half-true. It is also fun to have cool equipment. Testimony of many players supports this, for example opting to use cool unrandarts rather than optimal mundane equipment.
If you have a good idea for a shield active ability or passive effect i welcome it

Again, I would like to see the turtle-shell shield get something. Maybe evocable Waterstrike or evocable Summon Turtle?
Apocalypse shell: evocable Malign Gateway for permanent HP or INT loss.

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jwoodward48ss

Crypt Cleanser

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Joined: Tuesday, 29th November 2011, 11:04

Post Sunday, 5th February 2017, 18:09

Re: Item Proposal: Crab and turtle-shell shields

Reduce large shields' required no-penalty level to 20, so they're actually usable in 3-rune games.
"Damned, damned be the legions of the damned..."

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jwoodward48ss

Slime Squisher

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Post Monday, 6th February 2017, 09:45

Re: Item Proposal: Crab and turtle-shell shields

Has the idea of giving shields counterattacks ever been brought up? If your SH blocks a melee attack, you (have a chance to) make a counterattack with your weapon.

The extra damage might give shields a chance of competing with 2H weapons, and the SH-blocking could encourage people to go for larger shields (which would get counterattacks more often).

If this is too strong either shields or the counterattacks could be nerfed, but I think countering would help to make SH more than just a slightly different clone of EV.

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jwoodward48ss
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Tartarus Sorceror

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Joined: Monday, 14th October 2013, 01:05

Post Monday, 6th February 2017, 18:16

Re: Item Proposal: Crab and turtle-shell shields

On the right character(not spellcaster) large shields are already actually good in 3 rune game, you do not need to hit 25 skill for them to be worthwhile.

shields do not need a buff

For this message the author Shard1697 has received thanks: 3
Gozigzag, prozacelf, Rast

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Post Monday, 6th February 2017, 22:52

Re: Item Proposal: Crab and turtle-shell shields

monkeytor wrote:
What problem are you trying to solve here?

Shields are boring. Not just from the pure numbers/functionalist standpoint favored on this forum but also from a gameworld standpoint. To me the most interesting thing about these new shields is that they become something to hope for or aspire to in the game. When I first read the description for fire crab, I expected it to drop an enchantable shell equivalent to the then-existing hides. I'm open to revising all mechanical details in order to create something more 'functionally' interesting, but I don't believe the mechanics I've given are irrational or pointless.


In general, DCSS' design is very gameplay-driven, and while flavor is nice, it's rarely a priority. So a proposal for a new feature that's motivated primarily by flavor and not gameplay isn't particularly likely to be accepted. I agree that the flavor of using a fire crab or snapping turtle shell as a shield is pretty cool, but I don't know if that flavor alone is enough to add it to the game is you can't also make it add something meaningful from a gameplay standpoint. And "better buckler with resistances" isn't really meaningful from a gameplay standpoint at all.

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