rework Venom Mages


Although the central place for this kind of discussion is on the CDO wiki, some may find it helpful to discuss potential requests and suggestions here first.

Halls Hopper

Posts: 78

Joined: Thursday, 23rd November 2017, 02:14

Post Friday, 27th April 2018, 08:06

rework Venom Mages

Venom mages are not very popular, and the reason is simple: they can't deal with anything poison resistant or immune. A single bullfrog skeleton can end a venom mage run.

Ice elementalists get Icicle and Ice Beast.

Fire elementalists mostly train conjurations, so they can get some non-fire ones easily, and fire resistance is weaker than poison resistance, and fire-resistant enemies are less important early on.

Even when they work, venom mages are also kind of tiresome to play IMO. "Poison vapors, run away, repeat" isn't exactly an amazing gameplay experience. I'd suggest the following changes:

1) replace Mephitic Cloud with Ignite Poison in the Young Poisoner's Handbook

2) give Venom Mages a blowgun with 6 poison needles

3) replace Venom Bolt with Poison Arrow in the Book of Power, and replace Stone Arrow with Venom Bolt in the Fen Folio

4) make Ignite Poison level 2, and make Poisonous Vapours level 3

Ignite Poison makes for an interesting combo with both Poison Vapors and poison needles, and provides a way to eventually make flame clouds to kill undead. Poison Arrow is the only level 6 poison spell and it only appears in 1 book, so it's very rare to find any higher level poison magic than you start with.

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 3924

Joined: Friday, 8th May 2015, 17:51

Post Friday, 27th April 2018, 09:05

Re: rework Venom Mages

Mephitic Cloud is amazing spell, Venom Bolt is much better than Poison Arrow in starting book (the latter is useless until too late because of being level 6).
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Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 4023

Joined: Wednesday, 23rd October 2013, 07:56

Post Friday, 27th April 2018, 09:24

Re: rework Venom Mages

VM is fine. I've said this before and I'll say it again: early game rPois monsters are not very common, not very dangerous and can just be avoided (NaVM is a special case).
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Snake Sneak

Posts: 111

Joined: Friday, 13th March 2015, 13:33

Post Friday, 27th April 2018, 09:53

Re: rework Venom Mages

poison arrow in book of power seems like a good change. That spell is too damn rare. I disagree with everything else though. VM is strong.

Spider Stomper

Posts: 212

Joined: Monday, 3rd April 2017, 11:44

Post Friday, 27th April 2018, 13:58

Re: rework Venom Mages

Ever since poison vapours was added in, Venom mage are strong enough for most encounters. In practice, their gameplay experience is "Poison vapors, run away, repeat".

The only problem is that their power drops severely at the point you meet rpois creatures in which case you must branch into other means of damage. Like a band of skeletal warriors in D11 or whatever. For instance I try to do Orc first instead of Lair because Lair seems to have lots of hard hitting rpois creatures. Sometimes, a phantom or white imp or whatever can be a huge danger , but just like your fire elementalist example, if they have it available, they too can train conjurations and air. Though just like your example, it is unlikely that they can do so at D:5 or whatever.

I agree to the suggestion that poison arrow should be made more available by replacing venom bolt in the book of power, if only because the the only mages that would want to use venom bolt already have it, and poison arrow is too damn rare.

____

So...after thinking a bit and remembering that I actually rarely play VM and the last time I played a VM was a VM Ogre of TSO (because experience all the new changes in 0.20 why not?), I decided to roll up a VM and kinda do a spellcasting version of O tab to D10 and generally play like I will try to kill everything reasonable.

  Code:
 Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup version 0.21.1 (tiles) character file.

X the Magician (Gnoll Venom Mage)                  Turns: 10507, Time: 00:35:52

Health: 74/74      AC:  8    Str: 11    XL:     10   Next: 74%
Magic:  21/21      EV: 17    Int: 24    God:    Zin [****..]
Gold:   468        SH:  0    Dex: 16    Spells: 8/24 levels left

rFire    . . .     SeeInvis +   y - +1 dagger (holy)
rCold    . . .     Gourm    .   (no shield)
rNeg     . . .     Faith    .   V - +2 robe of Egalitarianism {+Blink rElec Int+4}
rPois    .         Spirit   .   K - +1 helmet
rElec    +         Reflect  .   (no cloak)
rCorr    +         Harm     .   h - +1 pair of gloves
MR       .....                  (no boots)
Stlth    ++++......             (no amulet)
HPRegen  0.22/turn              s - ring of see invisible
MPRegen  0.17/turn              N - ring of resist corrosion

@: studying Maces & Flails
A: distributed training, fangs 1, strong nose
a: Recite, Vitalisation, Imprison, Donate Gold, Renounce Religion, Evoke Blink


You are on level 9 of the Dungeon.
You worship Zin.
Zin is greatly pleased with you.
You are very hungry.

You have visited 2 branches of the dungeon, and seen 11 of its levels.

You have collected 519 gold pieces.
You have donated 51 gold pieces to Zin.

Inventory:

Hand Weapons
 j - a +0 hand axe
 t - a +4 short sword of venom
 y - a +1 dagger of holy wrath (weapon)
 D - a +0 blowgun
 I - a +0 quarterstaff
 L - a +0 spear
 T - an uncursed shortbow
Missiles
 g - 433 stones (quivered)
 i - 5 javelins
 k - 13 tomahawks
 r - 146 arrows
 u - 4 tomahawks of dispersal
 x - 75 sling bullets
 E - 37 poisoned needles
 F - 59 bolts
Armour
 a - a +0 robe
 e - a +0 hat
 h - a +1 pair of gloves (worn)
 K - a +1 helmet (worn)
 M - a +2 ring mail of poison resistance
 V - the +2 robe of Egalitarianism (worn) {+Blink rElec Int+4}
   (You found it on level 8 of the Dungeon)   
   
   It affects your intelligence (+4).
   It insulates you from electricity.
   It lets you blink.
Jewellery
 s - a ring of see invisible (left hand)
 N - a ring of resist corrosion (right hand)
Wands
 o - a wand of flame (42)
 J - a wand of digging (9)
Scrolls
 d - a scroll labeled ADIULE NUPN
 n - 7 scrolls of remove curse
 q - 10 scrolls of teleportation
 w - a scroll labeled ITSED HUNUEDE
 O - 3 scrolls labeled BADAETIPIM
 P - a scroll labeled SAOSTR QUXTOOST
 Q - 2 scrolls of immolation
 S - a scroll labeled HIXKARYUSO
 U - a scroll of enchant armour
Potions
 f - a potion of magic
 l - a potion of heal wounds
 m - 4 potions of lignification
 p - 2 potions of mutation
 v - 7 potions of curing
 z - 3 bubbling yellow potions
 A - 2 fuming silvery potions
 B - a sapphire potion
 C - a fuming yellow potion
 G - a black potion
Books
 b - a Young Poisoner's Handbook   
   
    Spells                           Type                      Level
    a - Sting                        Conjuration/Poison            1
    b - Poisonous Vapours            Poison/Air                    2
    c - Mephitic Cloud               Conjuration/Poison/Air        3
    d - Olgreb's Toxic Radiance      Poison                        4
    e - Venom Bolt                   Conjuration/Poison            5
 H - a manual of Maces & Flails
 R - a book of Cantrips   
   
    Spells                           Type                      Level
    a - Confusing Touch              Hexes                         1
    b - Animate Skeleton             Necromancy                    1
    c - Summon Small Mammal          Summoning                     1
    d - Apportation                  Translocation                 1
Comestibles
 c - 18 rations


   Skills:
 + Level 5.4 Fighting
 + Level 5.4 Short Blades
 + Level 5.4 Long Blades
 + Level 5.4 Axes
 + Level 6.6 Maces & Flails
 + Level 5.4 Polearms
 + Level 5.4 Staves
 + Level 5.4 Slings
 + Level 5.4 Bows
 + Level 5.4 Crossbows
 + Level 5.4 Throwing
 + Level 5.4 Armour
 + Level 7.2 Dodging
 + Level 7.0 Stealth
 + Level 5.4 Shields
 + Level 5.4 Unarmed Combat
 + Level 7.5 Spellcasting
 + Level 5.0 Conjurations
 + Level 4.5 Hexes
 + Level 4.5 Charms
 + Level 4.5 Summonings
 + Level 4.5 Necromancy
 + Level 4.5 Translocations
 + Level 4.5 Transmutations
 + Level 4.5 Fire Magic
 + Level 4.5 Ice Magic
 + Level 4.5 Air Magic
 + Level 4.5 Earth Magic
 + Level 7.2 Poison Magic
 + Level 6.0 Invocations
 + Level 5.4 Evocations


You have 8 spell levels left.
You know the following spells:

 Your Spells              Type           Power        Failure   Level  Hunger
a - Sting                 Conj/Pois      ####         1%          1    None
b - Poisonous Vapours     Pois/Air       #####.       1%          2    None
c - Mephitic Cloud        Conj/Pois/Air  #####...     1%          3    None
d - Olgreb's Toxic Radia  Pois           #####...     3%          4    ###....
e - Venom Bolt            Conj/Pois      #####.....   16%         5    #####..
f - Summon Small Mammal   Summ           ####         1%          1    None


Dungeon Overview and Level Annotations

Branches:
Dungeon (10/15)            Temple (1/1) D:6         
  Lair: D:8-11         Orc: D:9-12     

Altars:
Ashenzari
Cheibriados
Dithmenos
Elyvilon
Fedhas
Gozag
Hepliaklqana
Kikubaaqudgha
Makhleb
Nemelex Xobeh
Okawaru
Qazlal
Ru
Sif Muna
Trog
Uskayaw
Vehumet
Wu Jian
Xom
Yredelemnul
Zin
The Shining One

Annotations:
D:8 exclusion: ice statue


Innate Abilities, Weirdness & Mutations

Your experience applies equally to all skills.
You have very sharp teeth.
Your uncanny sense of smell can sniff out nearby items.


Message History

Confirm with . or Enter, or press ? or * to list all spells.
Okay, then.
Partly explored, can't reach some places.
Move the cursor to view the level map, or type ? for a list of commands.
Returning to the game...
There is an escape hatch in the ceiling here.
A mysterious force pulls you upwards. The hatch slams shut behind you.
You see here a quarterstaff.
You are feeling very hungry.
You can't go down here!
There is an escape hatch in the floor here.
You slide downwards. The hatch slams shut behind you.
Level annotation: exclusion: ice statue
There is a fountain of sparkling water here.
There is a sparkling altar of Nemelex Xobeh here.
There is a fountain of sparkling water here.
You see here a quarterstaff.
There is a stone staircase leading down here.
You climb downwards.
There is a stone staircase leading up here.

.###.....#    ##.##...###
.........######..##...#
.####....##......##.#.###
.###........####.##.#...###
...............<..........#
.##......##.####.##.#.#####
.#.....####..###.##...#####
...#[..#  ##.....##.......#
..##)#.#   ##..##...#.....#
..##.#)#   #..............#
.###.#.#  ##.###.####.....#
..##.#.####..###.#........#
#...........##.......#...##
..#.###)....##.......#...#
....# #..............#..@#
.#..###..............#...#
.#..##.....###..........##
###.##.....##........####
###.[................#
...)...........#####.#
.....##....########..###
....##..####   #.......#
>..........#####.......#
.......###.............#
##.#...# #######.......#
#....###       #.......#
.....#         #.......#
.....#         #.......#


There are no monsters in sight!

Vanquished Creatures
  2 two-headed ogres
  A centaur zombie (D:10)
  A troll (D:9)
  A hippogriff (D:7)
  Grum (D:9)
  A hungry ghost (D:10)
  Menkaure (D:7)
  2 orc warriors
  3 sky beasts
  5 phantoms
  A black bear (D:6)
  3 necrophages
  2 ogres (D:9)
  2 wolves (D:9)
  2 centaurs (D:10)
  5 bullfrogs
  2 big kobolds (D:10)
  A water moccasin zombie (D:10)
  2 scorpions
  A howler monkey (D:8)
  2 crimson imps
  A bullfrog zombie (D:8)
  A quasit (D:10)
  2 hounds
  A jelly (D:8)
  An orc wizard (D:10)
  A bullfrog skeleton (D:7)
  2 orc priests
  3 iron imps (D:8)
  A centaur skeleton (D:7)
  Jessica (D:3)
  5 worker ants
  An iguana (D:6)
  Robin (D:4)
  A worker ant zombie (D:5)
  A howler monkey skeleton (D:8)
  16 adders
  A shadow imp (D:9)
  A white imp (D:5)
  An ooze (D:2)
  An adder zombie (D:5)
  An adder skeleton (D:8)
  3 worms
  3 dart slugs
  A leopard gecko (D:4)
  23 orcs
  9 bats
  5 giant cockroaches
  9 hobgoblins
  8 jackals
  3 quokkas
  A frilled lizard (D:1)
  16 goblins
  11 kobolds
  2 leopard gecko skeletons
  A quokka skeleton (D:4)
  2 quokka zombies
  7 rats
  A plant (D:3)
190 creatures vanquished.

Notes
Turn   | Place    | Note
-------+----------+-------------------------------------------
     0 | D:1      | X the Gnoll Venom Mage began the quest for the Orb.
     0 | D:1      | Reached XP level 1. HP: 13/13 MP: 6/6
   119 | D:1      | Reached XP level 2. HP: 19/19 MP: 3/7
   188 | D:1      | Learned a level 2 spell: Poisonous Vapours
   291 | D:1      | You fall through a shaft!
   554 | D:1      | Reached XP level 3. HP: 25/25 MP: 3/9
   559 | D:1      | Learned a level 3 spell: Mephitic Cloud
   652 | D:1      | Reached skill level 5 in Spellcasting
  1125 | D:2      | Reached skill level 1 in Invocations
  1158 | D:2      | Reached skill level 1 in Fighting
  1158 | D:2      | Reached skill level 1 in Short Blades
  1158 | D:2      | Reached skill level 1 in Long Blades
  1158 | D:2      | Reached skill level 1 in Axes
  1158 | D:2      | Reached skill level 1 in Maces & Flails
  1158 | D:2      | Reached skill level 1 in Polearms
  1158 | D:2      | Reached skill level 1 in Staves
  1158 | D:2      | Reached skill level 1 in Slings
  1158 | D:2      | Reached skill level 1 in Bows
  1158 | D:2      | Reached skill level 1 in Crossbows
  1158 | D:2      | Reached skill level 1 in Throwing
  1158 | D:2      | Reached skill level 1 in Armour
  1158 | D:2      | Reached skill level 1 in Shields
  1158 | D:2      | Reached skill level 1 in Unarmed Combat
  1158 | D:2      | Reached skill level 1 in Evocations
  1302 | D:2      | Reached XP level 4. HP: 24/32 MP: 7/11
  1308 | D:2      | Learned a level 4 spell: Olgreb's Toxic Radiance
  1737 | D:3      | Reached skill level 1 in Hexes
  1737 | D:3      | Reached skill level 1 in Charms
  1737 | D:3      | Reached skill level 1 in Summonings
  1737 | D:3      | Reached skill level 1 in Necromancy
  1737 | D:3      | Reached skill level 1 in Translocations
  1737 | D:3      | Reached skill level 1 in Transmutations
  1737 | D:3      | Reached skill level 1 in Fire Magic
  1737 | D:3      | Reached skill level 1 in Ice Magic
  1737 | D:3      | Reached skill level 1 in Air Magic
  1737 | D:3      | Reached skill level 1 in Earth Magic
  2030 | D:3      | Reached XP level 5. HP: 37/37 MP: 1/12
  2308 | D:3      | Noticed Jessica
  2316 | D:3      | Killed Jessica
  2629 | D:3      | Found a blossoming altar of Fedhas.
  2961 | D:4      | Noticed Robin
  2968 | D:4      | Killed Robin
  3133 | D:4      | Found a shadowy altar of Dithmenos.
  3253 | D:4      | Noticed a phantom
  3740 | D:5      | Entered Level 5 of the Dungeon
  4142 | D:5      | Reached XP level 6. HP: 35/44 MP: 13/13
  4218 | D:5      | Learned a level 5 spell: Venom Bolt
  4304 | D:4      | Killed a phantom
  4304 | D:4      | Reached skill level 5 in Dodging
  4414 | D:5      | Noticed a sky beast
  4434 | D:5      | Killed a sky beast
  4540 | D:5      | Found an iron altar of Okawaru.
  4545 | D:5      | Reached XP level 7. HP: 50/50 MP: 15/15
  4655 | D:5      | Found a shimmering altar of Xom.
  4760 | D:5      | Found a glowing silver altar of Zin.
  5099 | D:5      | Became a worshipper of Zin the Law-Giver
  5099 | D:5      | Reached * piety under Zin
  5263 | D:5      | Found an ornate altar of the Wu Jian Council.
  5494 | D:6      | Reached skill level 5 in Stealth
  5940 | D:6      | Reached ** piety under Zin
  6015 | D:6      | Found a hazy altar of Hepliaklqana.
  6083 | D:6      | Reached XP level 8. HP: 54/57 MP: 4/16
  6241 | D:6      | Found a radiant altar of Vehumet.
  6268 | D:6      | Found a staircase to the Ecumenical Temple.
  6277 | Temple   | Entered the Ecumenical Temple
  7022 | D:7      | Noticed a hippogriff
  7035 | D:7      | Killed a hippogriff
  7168 | D:7      | Noticed Menkaure
  7172 | D:7      | Killed Menkaure
  7621 | D:8      | Reached *** piety under Zin
  7696 | D:8      | Noticed a two-headed ogre
  7716 | D:8      | Killed a two-headed ogre
  7716 | D:8      | Reached XP level 9. HP: 65/65 MP: 9/18
  8088 | D:8      | Noticed an ice statue
  8169 | D:8      | You fall through a shaft for 2 floors!
  8169 | D:10     | Entered Level 10 of the Dungeon
  8573 | D:10     | Reached skill level 5 in Maces & Flails
  8573 | D:10     | Reached skill level 5 in Invocations
  8762 | D:10     | Reached XP level 10. HP: 67/73 MP: 12/20
  8917 | D:10     | Noticed a two-headed ogre
  8937 | D:10     | Killed a two-headed ogre
  8937 | D:10     | Reached skill level 5 in Fighting
  8937 | D:10     | Reached skill level 5 in Short Blades
  8937 | D:10     | Reached skill level 5 in Long Blades
  8937 | D:10     | Reached skill level 5 in Axes
  8937 | D:10     | Reached skill level 5 in Polearms
  8937 | D:10     | Reached skill level 5 in Staves
  8937 | D:10     | Reached skill level 5 in Slings
  8937 | D:10     | Reached skill level 5 in Bows
  8937 | D:10     | Reached skill level 5 in Crossbows
  8937 | D:10     | Reached skill level 5 in Throwing
  8937 | D:10     | Reached skill level 5 in Armour
  8937 | D:10     | Reached skill level 5 in Shields
  8937 | D:10     | Reached skill level 5 in Unarmed Combat
  8937 | D:10     | Reached skill level 5 in Evocations
  9328 | D:9      | Noticed Grum
  9336 | D:9      | Killed Grum
  9429 | D:9      | You fall through a shaft!
  9635 | D:9      | Learned a level 1 spell: Summon Small Mammal
  9663 | D:9      | Reached skill level 5 in Conjurations
  9819 | D:9      | Found a sacrificial altar of Ru.
  9830 | D:9      | Found a basalt altar of Yredelemnul.
 10027 | D:8      | Reached **** piety under Zin
 10081 | D:8      | Found a sparkling altar of Nemelex Xobeh.
 10304 | D:8      | Found a burning altar of Makhleb.
 10353 | D:8      | Got a colourful robe
 10364 | D:8      | Identified the +2 robe of Egalitarianism {+Blink rElec Int+4} (You found it on level 8 of the Dungeon)

Skill      XL: |  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 |
---------------+-------------------------------+-----
Conjurations   |  2                 3  4     5 |  5.0
Spellcasting   |        5              6     7 |  7.5
Invocations    |        1     2     3  4  5  6 |  6.0
Fighting       |        1        2     4     5 |  5.4
Short Blades   |        1        2     4     5 |  5.4
Long Blades    |        1        2     4     5 |  5.4
Axes           |        1        2     4     5 |  5.4
Maces & Flails |        1        2     4  5  6 |  6.6
Polearms       |        1        2     4     5 |  5.4
Staves         |        1        2     4     5 |  5.4
Slings         |        1        2     4     5 |  5.4
Bows           |        1        2     4     5 |  5.4
Crossbows      |        1        2     4     5 |  5.4
Throwing       |        1        2     4     5 |  5.4
Armour         |        1        2     4     5 |  5.4
Shields        |        1        2     4     5 |  5.4
Unarmed Combat |        1        2     4     5 |  5.4
Evocations     |        1        2     4     5 |  5.4
Hexes          |           1        2  3     4 |  4.5
Charms         |           1        2  3     4 |  4.5
Summonings     |           1        2  3     4 |  4.5
Necromancy     |           1        2  3     4 |  4.5
Translocations |           1        2  3     4 |  4.5
Transmutations |           1        2  3     4 |  4.5
Fire Magic     |           1        2  3     4 |  4.5
Ice Magic      |           1        2  3     4 |  4.5
Air Magic      |           1        2  3     4 |  4.5
Earth Magic    |           1        2  3     4 |  4.5
Dodging        |                 5     6     7 |  7.2
Stealth        |                    5     6  7 |  7.0
Poison Magic   |                    6        7 |  7.2

Action                   |  1- 3 |  4- 6 |  7- 9 | 10-12 || total
-------------------------+-------+-------+-------+-------++-------
Melee: Hand axe          |     2 |       |       |       ||     2
       Short sword       |    14 |    80 |    60 |    24 ||   178
       Bite              |     1 |    18 |    36 |    16 ||    71
       Dagger            |       |    53 |   260 |   159 ||   472
       Punch             |       |     1 |     2 |     2 ||     5
Throw: Stone             |       |    38 |   131 |    24 ||   193
 Cast: Sting             |    15 |     5 |     2 |     7 ||    29
       Poisonous Vapours |    20 |    13 |    37 |    28 ||    98
       Olgreb's Toxic Ra |       |     5 |     4 |     1 ||    10
       Mephitic Cloud    |       |     4 |     5 |     8 ||    17
Invok: Recite            |       |       |     3 |     2 ||     5
Evoke: Wand              |       |       |     5 |       ||     5
  Use: Scroll            |       |     5 |    10 |       ||    15
 Stab: Sleeping          |     5 |     6 |     2 |     1 ||    14
       Confused          |       |       |     3 |     3 ||     6
  Eat: Chunk             |     1 |     9 |     5 |     4 ||    19
       Ration            |       |     1 |     3 |       ||     4
Armor: Robe              |     4 |     4 |       |       ||     8
       Ring mail         |       |    20 |   114 |    42 ||   176
Dodge: Dodged            |    21 |    51 |   177 |    93 ||   342



So, I fell down a shaft 3 times, a white imp almost killed me and 30/189 creatures (ignore the plant) are poison immune. 36/189 if including rpois. 19% of creatures encountered are resist or immune to poison, far higher than that would be encountered for any other elemental type. Why do oozes even exist, other than to annoy VM anyways? Also I found a +1 holy wrath dagger to use on poison immune, but I think just using a quarterstaff of flail would have been better to be honest.I spent absolutely forever throwing rocks at phantoms because I am not smart enough to use better weapons. No way to find out without fsim. On the other hand, killing two headed ogres were easy. So in the early game there appears to be some truth to the claim that rpois appears to be fairly common and can be deadly. Probably not a fair race choice though, since gnolls in particular have an easy start and can use invocations and wands more reliably. As for late game, whether it is easy for them to adapt without going ASH is another matter.

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Post Friday, 27th April 2018, 15:58

Re: rework Venom Mages

Plantissue wrote:but I think just using a quarterstaff of flail would have been better to be honest.


Petition to change the Vorpal brand on Quarterstaves from Crushing to "Quarterstaff of Flailing" :D

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Post Friday, 27th April 2018, 16:12

Re: rework Venom Mages

Venom Mage is alright. It's still clearly the worst mage background but it's fairly playable imo. The problem is that poison magic as a school is bad and emphasizes bad gameplay. I'm honestly amazed that "damage but green and you kite a lot" is still a spell school in this game. If you want to make VM or poison magic more popular, you need a more robust concept for the spell school.
Remove spell hunger.

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Post Friday, 27th April 2018, 16:25

Re: rework Venom Mages

VM is more of a warrior-mage start, since you're more or less required to get -some- melee ability. Draconians are pretty good since they have durability and a breath attack, but, that's only one race.

Poisonous Vapours makes VM really strong, and zombies/skeletons are mostly pretty handle-able. Pre-lair is mostly easy, although phantoms are annoying, and IF YOU FIND A GARGOYLE IT REALLY SUCKS. That doesn't -usually- happen, but Lair always happens, and lair is awful. Spiny frogs, black mambas, and hydra are immune to ALL of your magic but Venom Bolt, which does greatly reduced damage.

Ignite Poison singlehandedly fixes all of the issues since you can ignite mephitic cloud for huge blazing damage. However, it might be too strong to add to the starter book.

A much weaker suggestion would be making sting deal non-elemental damage while poisoning. Currently sting is almost completely irrelevant after you hit lv2 and learn P.Vapours which is insanely superior, so this isn't the worst idea. However it's not like you'll do well trying to kill a hydra, spiny frog, black mamba, or gargoyle with a "magic dart that can miss and has two spell schools"... so this may be too weak of a suggestion to help. But at the least, it'd give you something for skeletons and zombies, and softening up the other targets before they come into melee range.


cut:I also agree that Poison isn't exactly a compelling school. It's mostly only helpful earlier in the game, meaning that if you don't start as VM you don't want to invest EXP into poison. Exception is mephitic cloud, which also has two far more useful spell schools so you don't even need to learn poison magic to cast it. (And spider form on transmuters I guess, but again; they'll get like 1~2 levels of poison and focus on transmut)

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Post Friday, 27th April 2018, 16:35

Re: rework Venom Mages

Tumalu wrote:cut:I also agree that Poison isn't exactly a compelling school.


Maybe the school could be more reworked to a more "entropy or decay" focus, so that it's not relying on something being alive as it could focus on the decay of anything, even stone (like a gargoyle). So instead of JUST poison there could be spells to add corrosion, rot, or maybe even draining. Or a catch-all entropic spell that adds those conditions based on the target type. Living creatures get poisoned, undead corroded, etc.

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Post Friday, 27th April 2018, 17:04

Re: rework Venom Mages

Hellmonk wrote:Venom Mage is alright. It's still clearly the worst mage background but it's fairly playable imo. The problem is that poison magic as a school is bad and emphasizes bad gameplay. I'm honestly amazed that "damage but green and you kite a lot" is still a spell school in this game. If you want to make VM or poison magic more popular, you need a more robust concept for the spell school.


devs dont want to introduce acid damage into poison magic school or let players strip poison resistance so good luck with that

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Post Friday, 27th April 2018, 17:14

Re: rework Venom Mages

Really i feel like what venom mages are missing is just a level 3/4 summon of some sort, if sticks to snakes wasn't already a (fairly awkward) thing, "summon snakes" would be just about perfect. The historical summon scorpions was ok, but it had issues in implementation. Maybe something that summoned spiders?

Even that isn't required, having your book backgrounds be able to kill any thing through the mid game with their starting spellbook isn't obligatory, for most backgrounds the expectation is that you will pick somethibg up from the floor and use it against a some things after a short while, ice/air/conjuration/wizard/earth backgrounds are really more exceptions than the rule.

Perhaps vm should just be moved over to the warrior mage category and given a short sword?
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Post Friday, 27th April 2018, 20:40

Re: rework Venom Mages

how do you guys play this game if you expect the starting kit to take care of every threat for the whole game?

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Post Friday, 27th April 2018, 20:46

Re: rework Venom Mages

gameguard wrote:how do you guys play this game if you expect the starting kit to take care of every threat for the whole game?

DDFi

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Post Saturday, 28th April 2018, 01:10

Re: rework Venom Mages

yea but you are gonna be relying on a god. xxVM can also worship mak for acid shots and minor demon

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Post Saturday, 28th April 2018, 01:19

Re: rework Venom Mages

gameguard wrote:how do you guys play this game if you expect the starting kit to take care of every threat for the whole game?

It's more like, if I pick VM I'm praying to find a different attack spell just to be able to handle Lair. Most dangerous monsters in lair are immune to the entire starter book, other than a heavily-resisted venom bolt. Veh and Sif are likely to gift me something good in time if I do Orc first, though... so that's something.

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Post Saturday, 28th April 2018, 01:29

Re: rework Venom Mages

Tumalu wrote:
gameguard wrote:how do you guys play this game if you expect the starting kit to take care of every threat for the whole game?

It's more like, if I pick VM I'm praying to find a different attack spell just to be able to handle Lair. Most dangerous monsters in lair are immune to the entire starter book, other than a heavily-resisted venom bolt. Veh and Sif are likely to gift me something good in time if I do Orc first, though... so that's something.


You will certainly find stuff to deal with it by lair. Be it wands, some god, other spells, training weapons, etc. Poison magic is effective with just like 8~10 skill lvls so its not like you are short on skill points.
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Post Saturday, 28th April 2018, 03:14

Re: rework Venom Mages

gameguard wrote:how do you guys play this game if you expect the starting kit to take care of every threat for the whole game?
most starts are a lot more capable of killing everything they run into than VM using what they start with or stuff that uses the same skills as what they start with uses

at the very least VM suffers a lot more annoyance from this than other classes. a weapon focused character can kill things using that weapon school all game no problem(minus short blades). other elementalists run into issues sometimes due to resists, but not as often or as badly as VM.

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Post Saturday, 28th April 2018, 06:02

Re: rework Venom Mages

Please don't forget we don't have difficulty levels. VM is still much stronger than CK and I don't see why it should be buffed.
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Post Saturday, 28th April 2018, 07:22

Re: rework Venom Mages

VeryAngryFelid wrote:Please don't forget we don't have difficulty levels. VM is still much stronger than CK and I don't see why it should be buffed.

I think species are a better way of doing that. A bad background only makes the early game harder.

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Post Saturday, 28th April 2018, 08:58

Re: rework Venom Mages

bhauth wrote:
gameguard wrote:how do you guys play this game if you expect the starting kit to take care of every threat for the whole game?

DDFi


DDBe

xxBe
screw it I hate this character I'm gonna go melee Gastronok

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Post Sunday, 29th April 2018, 08:30

Re: rework Venom Mages

It looks like we need a new challenge: winning without picking up anything. Maybe scrolls and potions should be allowed if impossible otherwise.
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Post Sunday, 29th April 2018, 10:34

Re: rework Venom Mages

Rename Björk's Smelly Hands to Ivy Growth, and move it to Earth/Poison. Problem solved, you can take on anything that isn't an incorporeal undead.
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Post Sunday, 29th April 2018, 18:28

Re: rework Venom Mages

The main problem with Vm is that it just dosen't scale at all.

Every single other magic school scales in some fashion. Every other magic school has an 'endgame'.

Venom's 'endgame' is a Level 6 spell that is mostly redundant in comparison to a Lv 5 spell before it; and is worthless against most enemies by the time you could cast it.

Unlike every other school of magic; the reality is that there is little to no reason to ever raise Poison Magic above 7.

And there's a pretty severe problem with a skill existing if there's never a reason to level it above 7/27.

My personal suggestion is make high-level Poison spells; but them them deal Acid damage. Acid Bolt; Acid Splash [Acid Damage IMB]; Acid Cloud; what have you. Since these higher-level Poison spells would deal Acid damage; it would be RCorro that mobs need to resist it. It could still deal somewhat lower damage, but could have the effect of reducing the enemy's AC; to encourage Vm as a background that wants to branch out into other damage types [In this case; either Earth or weapons to make use of the AC reduction].

Acid seems pretty thematic as an endgame for a Vm; make a Venom strong enough it melts flesh/Armour.

I mean; there are places where Vm is very strong. Meph/Vapours are the strongest earlygame spells. OTR is a pretty good spell for clearing out Orc [Which can be rough early for most casters] and even Elf, and can actually be pretty nice even in Vaults. I would certainly not want Poison Magic to be the strongest school for endgame; but it should at least HAVE an endgame. As it stands it's not even solid for the end of a 3 Rune. You might get it to 7 to make OTR reliable and decently powerful. MAYBE ~9 for Bolt if you're transitioning into Conj.

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Post Sunday, 29th April 2018, 22:58

Re: rework Venom Mages

VM does not really have problems transitioning to a viable midgame/endgame build. You can take one of several overpowered gods, transition to pure conjurations or another elemental school, pick up a longbow, or whatever; vapors/meph/OTR give you plenty of time to get something else going. The problems you are mentioning are problems with poison magic as a spell school. Adding a bunch of acid spells is about the worst possible way to revise poison magic though. There is no thematic association between acid and poison in DCSS. Acid resistance on monsters is extremely rare, so adding bolt of acid or whatever just turns high level poison magic into yet another flavor of conjurations or earth, and DCSS damage schools are already samey enough as it is. Damage but red, damage but blue, damage but yellow, damage but green, etc is a terrible design paradigm that should be left in the 1990's where it belongs. If there's a place for poison magic in the game, it has to start from a more interesting concept than "green damage" or "green damage and some light yellow damage".

The actual problems with VM as a background:
1) Playstyle not really interesting, largely a redundant and worse version of other mage starts
2) You have to kite a lot to get all your damage
3) Sting is garbage, so your level 1 is pretty bad
4) Venom Bolt is garbage
Remove spell hunger.

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Post Monday, 30th April 2018, 01:36

Re: rework Venom Mages

Related thread: https://crawl.develz.org/tavern/viewtopic.php?p=284424
duvessa wrote:Poison magic is long overdue to just be removed. Its supposedly distinguishing features from the other at least five direct damage schools are:
1. applying a damage-over-time status
2. being bad against monsters with rPois
3. being useless to train past about 12 skill
None of these are good. 1 encourages kiting, which is bad gameplay, and would still have plentiful spell sources (sticky flame, clouds) without poison spells. Anything possibly interesting about 2 is already well occupied by fire magic being bad against rF monsters. 3 is just self-evidently stupid as long as skills share a 27 level cap.

The only poison spells that can possibly pretend to be unique in another, potentially good way are mephitic cloud, spider form, and alistair's intoxication, none of which need the poison school attached to them (and alistair's sucks now anyway), just as dragon form doesn't need the fire school attached to it.

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Post Monday, 30th April 2018, 06:13

Re: rework Venom Mages

After playing HuVM in trunk I see:
1) I have poison magic 11, conjurations 12, all bonus points went into Int and I still wouldnt be able to cast poison arrow without sif muna. So poison magic is not useless skill.
2) sting is good vs worms before temple, for some reason level 2 spell never poisons them (or is it a bug?)
3) lair is extremely hard, I had to kill hydra with conjure flame, riposte and venom bolts, black mambas and spiny frogs were attacked with electro long sword and almost killed me many times despite Ozo armour and rings with +6 AC and +4 EV. (No rPois though)
4) vault entrance guards and king bee packs are hillariously easy (OTR kills everything while you retreat)
5) poison arrow is great when you can cast it in Orc.
Overall, VM is a hybrid background indeed. I joined Sif Muna before temple and still couldn't get something more useful than conjure flame and ozo armour for Lair.

Edit. Orcish Mines is not always a good option for VM. In my game I had Erolcha, Stone Giant and Orc Warlord with a band of minor orcs right in view of stairs on Orc:1 so I actually re-entered the branch after Lair and D:14.
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Post Monday, 30th April 2018, 13:58

Re: rework Venom Mages

Poison Arrow is great if you can actually cast it earlygame, but that's kind of rare. Last I knew, Vehumet's spell gifts scaling with school don't scale from Poison, so he isn't likely to gift it, and it only normally appears in the Book of Annihilations. If you don't worship Sif you're highly likely to never find it in 3-rune (not that you'd want it any later than that), and Sif only means you'll get it -eventually-.

But yeah. Lair is just suffering as a VM. You may as well pick up the heaviest armor that allows casting mephitic cloud on yaks, because congrats, you're a melee character now.
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Post Monday, 30th April 2018, 15:57

Re: rework Venom Mages

TBH, the more I see VM, the less I get why it isn't a warrior mage. "Magic school with only 6 spell levels"? Perfect for casting in armour! "And whose spells are resisted by many enemies, and therefore need an alternative way to deal damage"? Good thing there are swords!

I think it would be interesting. You would have a melee PC that can snipe at monsters with vapours, do battlefield control with mephitic cloud, use olgreb's in full rooms... Very funny and attack-oriented, and you wouldn't need to run away from every zombie you meet.

The only question is whether these six levels of poison magic would only be useful up to D:14, and then leave you with a meleer that invested in a school that is useless in the late game.
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Post Monday, 30th April 2018, 16:05

Re: rework Venom Mages

To be fair, why not let all damaging spells of all types do at least some damage to everything, otherwise - yeah let's see packs of yaks that are 100% resistant to all swords, polearms and staffs, and death yaks 100% resistant to all weapons besides a short-blade. This thread is so telling.

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Post Monday, 30th April 2018, 19:37

Re: rework Venom Mages

It's not that immunity is necessarily bad; it's that even being resistant confers complete immunity to nearly the entire VM spellbook. And there are a lot of dangerous resistant enemies before you even enter any rune branches. They need be good enough at melee to fight spiny frogs and black mambas in lair without magic (very nontrivial enemies), but... it's a mage backround?

Sif/Veh can potentially grant you spells to deal with these outside of poison, but it's a gamble to obtain and have such spells online that fast.

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Post Monday, 7th May 2018, 20:22

Re: rework Venom Mages

I did a pull request for this a while ago:
- start Venom Mages with Ignite Poison instead of Mephitic Cloud, a blowgun, and 2 poison needles
- allow casting Poison Vapors anywhere
- Poison Vapors to level 3, Ignite Poison to level 2, numerical adjustments to them
- replace Venom Bolt with Poison Arrow in the Book of Power

https://github.com/crawl/crawl/pull/752

Doesn't look like it's going to be approved.

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Post Tuesday, 8th May 2018, 17:29

Re: rework Venom Mages

Isn't vapors + ignite basically "conjure flame, except also on monsters"?
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Post Tuesday, 8th May 2018, 17:48

Re: rework Venom Mages

njvack wrote:Isn't vapors + ignite basically "conjure flame, except also on monsters"?

Well, except vapors is usually less than a turn in duration (I've personally never seen it last more than one turn after casting it) Turning vapors into a flame cloud is almost never useful (Two turns for a 0 or 1 turn conjure flame)

What is useful is poisoning things with vapors and ingiting them to speed up and increase the damage done.
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Post Tuesday, 8th May 2018, 18:14

Re: rework Venom Mages

Ah, I thought ignite poison gave a longer-duration cloud.

The PR increased vapor duration and allowed it to be cast anywhere. It does still take two turns to make a fire though.
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Post Tuesday, 8th May 2018, 20:15

Re: rework Venom Mages

njvack wrote:Ah, I thought ignite poison gave a longer-duration cloud.

It depends on spellpower. I left it unchanged:
min(5 + (random2(pow)/2) + (random2(pow)/2), 23)

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