Caps for Summoning and Necromancy


Although the central place for design discussion is ##crawl-dev on freenode, some may find it helpful to discuss requests and suggestions here first.

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Wednesday, 14th March 2012, 19:52

Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

From this thread.

SUMMONING
The five variables concerning a Summon are
1 - the persistence of a summon (how long it exists)
2 - the number of summons simultaneously in existence from a single summoner source
3 - room (space) around the summoner - (as far as I know, summons usually appear within 2 spaces of the summoner).
4 - the sheer "power" of the summon (Dragon vs. Quokka)
5 - the disposition of the summon (Friendly, Unfriendly)

Per the referenced thread, I do not believe Summoning should be eliminated, but I believe it should have a Summon Capacity based on Summoning Skill and total {quantifier} of summons.

If a new creature was summoned and there is not enough room in the Summoning Capacity, either (developer choice)
(A) earliest summons will first auto-abjure until capacity is released enough for the new summon to exist
or
(B) the summon attempt fails
or
(C) the summon takes place to a lesser extent (shortened timespan, weakened/pre-damaged summon/fewer creatures/lesser version (lindworm instead of dragon)) to fill up to the capacity
or
(D) the summon takes place, but the persistence of all existing summons by the summoner is reduced by an amount based on capacity overflow

If (A) is selected, consideration of auto-abjure (but not actual abjuration) should take place before determining if there is room around the summoner for the summons; in that fashion, the new summon(s) could replace spot(s) taken from any auto-abjured summons.

Where {quantifier} is probably either hit dice or danger level of the summon, so you can still spam mammals and imps (to a point), but if you then ask for a dragon, 95% of those spammals vanish (that is, if choice (A) is taken).

UNDEAD

A similar cap for Summons should (or could) exist for undead, but if so, then IMHO undead should be able to travel with the caster between levels.

Undead Capacities and Summoning Capacities should not touch each other.
Last edited by XuaXua on Friday, 16th March 2012, 14:23, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 23:19

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

Here's another brainstorm:

1. Summons are persistent.

2. Each individual summoned/animated creature you have takes away 20% of your MP pool for the duration it is out. This places a hard cap of 5 summons.

3. If a summon dies or is dismissed your MP has to recharge from that point (so if five monsters bite it you have to regen from 0 MP to get to your max).

4. This will allow elimination of the summons XP penalty since now there is serious risk to relying on summons.

5. Perhaps instead of sacrificing MP you have to sacrifice 10% of your HP for necro summons like large abominations.

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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 10:18

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

In any of these calculations, how about using total HD of the summons, rather than number, thus making spells like Demonic Horde still viable.

Edit: yeah looked at the original thread and this was part of the suggestion there.

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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 14:05

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

wesleyshaver wrote:Here's another brainstorm:

1. Summons are persistent.

2. Each individual summoned/animated creature you have takes away 20% of your MP pool for the duration it is out. This places a hard cap of 5 summons.

3. If a summon dies or is dismissed your MP has to recharge from that point (so if five monsters bite it you have to regen from 0 MP to get to your max).

4. This will allow elimination of the summons XP penalty since now there is serious risk to relying on summons.

5. Perhaps instead of sacrificing MP you have to sacrifice 10% of your HP for necro summons like large abominations.

What if you want to blink? Or use haste on a summon? Or do anything magical other than watch your summons fight things for you?

And as has been touched on here, why should an imp cost the same amount of your max MP bar as a dragon?
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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 14:21

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

Jeremiah wrote:In any of these calculations, how about using total HD of the summons, rather than number, thus making spells like Demonic Horde still viable.

Edit: yeah looked at the original thread and this was part of the suggestion there.


It's one of the suggestions in the first post of THIS thread too, as I made the last post (only response) in that thread suggesting it and the first post here.

rebthor wrote:why should an imp cost the same amount of your max MP bar as a dragon?


Exactly. I added 2 more variables concerning a summon (power and disposition) for a total of 5. Summoning an unfriendly is enough of a detraction from summoning that it shouldn't be even more of a penalty (or maybe it should - summon more and your unfriendly summon eventually disappears if option (A) is selected when the cap is hit).
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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 15:46

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

Not having won with a summoner, as I've mentioned, the one thing I would like to see if something like this is added is something like 'T'-'G' to tell a summon to go in a particular direction or to a particular place. T-W is fine when you have a dozen ice beasts wandering since some of them will hopefully go around that corner you know a sleeping Yak pack is, but if you only have 3 or 4, T-W becomes really useless.
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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 16:34

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

I agree; I cast summons on the edge of statue ranges call t-w and hope they go that direction.

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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 20:42

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

AFAIK, all devs agreed that capping summons would greatly improve it. MarvinPA suggested a per-spell cap to encourage diversifying. It's also much easier to understand and manage than an HD cap. When cap is reached, I think option B should be applied. Cancel casting with no MP/turn lost.
So it's just a matter of figuring out what cap to use and implementing it.

rebthor wrote:'T'-'G' to tell a summon to go in a particular direction or to a particular place.

No. Stuff happening out of LOS is uninteresting and abusable, and this is something we're trying to get rid of, not encourage. For an example of abuse, someone cleared zigsprint with summons and a teleport trap without leaving the first room.
An interesting idea (MarvinPA again) is that summons out of LOS have their duration reduced much faster. I like it.
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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 21:17

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

galehar wrote:For an example of abuse, someone cleared zigsprint with summons and a teleport trap without leaving the first room.

You have to admit, that's at least a little awesome.
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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 22:07

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

galehar wrote:AFAIK, all devs agreed that capping summons would greatly improve it. MarvinPA suggested a per-spell cap to encourage diversifying. It's also much easier to understand and manage than an HD cap. When cap is reached, I think option B should be applied. Cancel casting with no MP/turn lost.
So it's just a matter of figuring out what cap to use and implementing it.

rebthor wrote:'T'-'G' to tell a summon to go in a particular direction or to a particular place.

No. Stuff happening out of LOS is uninteresting and abusable, and this is something we're trying to get rid of, not encourage. For an example of abuse, someone cleared zigsprint with summons and a teleport trap without leaving the first room.
An interesting idea (MarvinPA again) is that summons out of LOS have their duration reduced much faster. I like it.

I think I first heard the per-spell cap idea from evilmike, actually (but I certainly agree it's a good way of approaching it, yeah). And yeah, summon duration decreasing very quickly when out of your LOS would be great too. I've not looked into how easy to implement any of these would be, but both would be good to have! The per-spell cap requires a bit more thought in terms of actually choosing the caps, of course.

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Post Saturday, 17th March 2012, 01:44

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

Some nice ideas here!
I thought I'd comment on a couple of things I like, thematically:
The per-spell cap could work. Since controlling dragons might be tough, this seems logical enough to me, "You cannot control any more dragons." It also might provide some incentive to specialize as a summoner who can cast many different spells, as opposed to having just one spell from this school and spamming it endlessly.
Out-of-sight duration reduction could work. After all, you are providing the force that ties the summons to this world.

So, while I'm here, rather than getting into XuaXua's excellent but detailed cost calculation, my suggestion might be:
Once you've summoned something, the MP are tied up and won't regenerate until the summons is gone. That way you'd have a flexible cap: It will still be easy to summon armies of imps, but not more than a few dragons. Furthermore, the numbers you can summon will increase with your skills in a fairly obvious way.
This could also be used as a boost to the relevant gods: (Perhaps Mahkleb for demons, Fedhas for animals) that they could allow you regenerate some of this cost.
On a related note, if you do get a powerful hostile summons, then it behooves you to send it back quickly. :-)

I also like wesleyshaver's idea #5 a lot. I am not sure it would work, but that might differentiate necromancy in general a bit more from other schools: You have to put up some of your own life-force. :twisted: Again that could be used to boost relevant gods (Kiku or Yred).
Probably then, as XuaXua said, you'd have to allow zombies to travel between levels. But I don't see that as a big problem (gameplay-wise anyway; for all I know, it might be a nightmare to code), since IIRC that restriction was originally put in to counteract it being too easy to amass vast zombie armies. Although in that case, the whole zombie reform would be needed, since the best zombie strategy at the moment is often just a huge crowd that can nibble things to death.
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Post Saturday, 17th March 2012, 03:53

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

dassem wrote:Probably then, as XuaXua said, you'd have to allow zombies to travel between levels. But I don't see that as a big problem (gameplay-wise anyway; for all I know, it might be a nightmare to code), since IIRC that restriction was originally put in to counteract it being too easy to amass vast zombie armies. Although in that case, the whole zombie reform would be needed, since the best zombie strategy at the moment is often just a huge crowd that can nibble things to death.


As a priest of Beogh, I once took all of Orc (with judicious use of dig spells to ease interlevel travel) to my stash at Lair:2. All of them.
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Post Saturday, 17th March 2012, 12:23

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

Well, after giving this matter some thought this would be my personal wishlist regarding summoning (and various other stuff). The principial aim of these proposals are to make summons a valuable resource to maintain rather than the consequence free spam button it currently is.

*Summoning as a skill is removed. From now on all calling of supernatural aid is provided by the gods. Abjure is moved to Translocations/Hexes. Necromancers can still raise all the fodder they want since corpses are a limited resource.

*introducing the Soul mechanic, whereby intelligent NPC's spawn a soul creature on death. This creature is moving randomly around the area where it died until passing on some hundred turns later. They're completely unable to interact with the enviroment (cannot attack nor be attacked, doesn't block spells and are always pushed aside when moved onto) and are invisible unless the PC has the second sight ability (provided by Yred (invocations) and Necromancy), which depending on the skill level gives the player a chance to spot them. These are used as a flavor element, to power Necromancy spells (differentiating it from elemental magic), as food for demons (and demonic gods) and to power Yreds abilities (more on that later). High level undead and demons also spawn souls since they never left in the first case and.. indegestion in the second (also to ensure a supply in the lategame).

*Now then, the gods give the player followers through various means (gifting for TSO, dominating for Makhleb, convering for Beogh, aggravating for Yred and creating for Trog).

*TSO: As the player gains piety there's a chance to be gifted an (initially low level) holy creature by TSO. Rather than being added ingame however, this is instead added to the players "summoning pool", which works similar to spell levels in that it restricts the amount of summonable creatures the player has access to at any given time - the more invocations the player has, the more space he has in his summoning pool, and the higher HD of the summon the more space it takes in the pool. When summoning, the player gets a prompt to choose which creature(s) from the pool he wants to call on, and when the summon times out any surviving creatures are returned to the pool to be called upon again. Players that have no creatures remaining cannot summon and will have to wait for TSO to gift again. Naturally, TSO strengthens (and names) the players creatures as they gain XP, meaning what started out as a lowly Cherub may with care indeed end up as that +5/+5 angel of holy asskicking.

*Makhleb: Same summon pool mechanic as TSO, except that he doesn't gift Demons. Rather, he allows the player to attempt to force enemy demons to disclose their full names through a domination ability. This works better on heavily wounded, statused or otherwise incapacitated demons (think pokémon). Once dominated they're relegated to the players summon pool for future use. Demons are levelled up by allowing them to consume the aforementioned souls of dead enemies.

*Beogh is largely as-is. High level orc spellcasters shouldn't be able to gate in demons at will of course, but otherwise the horde works well. High level named Orcs should however be given a chance to continue their service to Beogh as Spirit Warriors (similar to Nergals spell, with a power depnedent on the live Orc) and be added to the players Summoning Pool to be called all at once by a new max piety ability. These should then be returned to the pool even if they died to be called again. Why? Because leading a warband of dead heroes is amazing, and also opens up for a rather kickass death message for the player ("You take your place among the host of ancestors" or somesuch).

*Yred is refitted as the god of the dead rather than the (other) god of the evil dead. Neutral disposition, caters to guiding and protecting the souls of the departed to their final resting place. As such he hates Demons and Necromancers and expects the player to protect the souls of those (he) slain from outside forces until they pass on. The players abilities draws strenght from nearby souls without using them up (as opposed to Necromancy/Hungry demons).

Yred likes: souls passing on. (piety gain)
Yred dislikes: souls being devoured by demons/destroyed by necromancers. (piety loss)
Yred freaking hates: The player using Necromancy/otherwise harming souls (excommuncation)

Some proposed abilities:

0 Piety: Second sight - gives a chance to spot souls depending on piety and invocation skill.
0 Piety: Shepherd of the dead - makes souls follow the player rather than wandering aimlessly. The more souls around, the more they passively empower the players abilities.

Middle piety: damage reflection, vampiric drain etc etc, except powered by the forsaken.

High piety: Haunt - converts a number of nearby souls into friendly specters. This is what's actually relevant to this thread. Replaces the necromancy Haunt spell.

*Trog: No change. Maybe throw Spectral berserkers at the enemy with a chance of them being (berserker) player ghosts to keep it thematic but otherwise BIA makes enough sense as is.

*Animal summons: Hey look, design space for a future god of the hunt.

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Post Monday, 19th March 2012, 13:43

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

galehar wrote:AFAIK, all devs agreed that capping summons would greatly improve it. MarvinPA suggested a per-spell cap to encourage diversifying. It's also much easier to understand and manage than an HD cap. When cap is reached, I think option B should be applied. Cancel casting with no MP/turn lost.
So it's just a matter of figuring out what cap to use and implementing it.

rebthor wrote:'T'-'G' to tell a summon to go in a particular direction or to a particular place.

No. Stuff happening out of LOS is uninteresting and abusable, and this is something we're trying to get rid of, not encourage. For an example of abuse, someone cleared zigsprint with summons and a teleport trap without leaving the first room.
An interesting idea (MarvinPA again) is that summons out of LOS have their duration reduced much faster. I like it.

I understand what you're saying about this but note that a summoner is well behind the power curve compared to most characters due to the 50% experience point reduction. The way they make up for it now is to spam and spam and spam summons. By limiting the number of summons that strategy will obviously need to change, but without anywhere near the skill levels that a "normal" player would have, how do you propose to balance that?

I suppose one easy way would be to give 100% XP to the summoner instead of just 50%.

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Post Monday, 19th March 2012, 14:58

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

minmay wrote:
rebthor wrote:I understand what you're saying about this but note that a summoner is well behind the power curve compared to most characters

No.

No now because you can summon a dozen dragons and who cares. When you can summon 2 or 3, what happens then?
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Post Monday, 19th March 2012, 15:24

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

rebthor wrote:
minmay wrote:
rebthor wrote:I understand what you're saying about this but note that a summoner is well behind the power curve compared to most characters

No.

No now because you can summon a dozen dragons and who cares. When you can summon 2 or 3, what happens then?


I guess those 2-3 dragons take out the threat, and summoner players will stop stepping "in it" and be a bit more cautious.

Possibly also expand their repertoire to include some conjurations.

I do think the 50% cut is a bit steep and could be adjusted upwards (and IMHO should go up if the limits go in because 50% seems like an arbitrary choice and not one backed by proper data analysis), but not by much.
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Post Monday, 19th March 2012, 15:32

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

Like the solution to the Theory of Relativity to Einstein, the following came to me in a dream..

Summoning
Summoning is basically the most powerful magic in the game. In doing so, the caster is literally ripping open space-time and pulling a creature from some other dimension to his own. Furthermore he is enslaving that creatures mind which, I imagine, requires a large amount of magical as well as will power.

My solution is therefore to make summoning always cause mutagenic glow. Warping space around you, ripping apart time itself, its a very dangerous thing. There is already precedent for this in Controlled Blink.

Game mechanics wise, smaller creatures (lower level summons) require less dimensional ripping and thus will cause less glow. Larger creatures, more glow. The amount of glow can be reduced as spell power increases, but certainly never to zero (via increased skill in localizing the destabilization of space-time). Such a mechanic will allow the devs to tweak the spell power - glow amount curve for balance purposes. The mechanic is also easy to describe to the player (there are already spell power pips (##----) and the explanation is easy to understand.)

This will work to prevent summoners from spamming creatures all of the time. They may still choose to do so for emergencies or a very difficult encounter, but they will pay a serious price, and doing it often will stack up their bad mutations and cause them to become a shitty, withered lump of flesh. This is still interesting because it allows people to try the, "I'm a shitty withered mound of flesh but look I have many dragons" strategy.

I believe the glow mechanic is terrific for this purpose because it provides a natural and observable "summoning cap". Depending on what you're summoning -- we'll use someone who just got Dragons to a decent cast success -- if you summon more than Two of them you're going to be in yellow glow. If you wait for glow to reduce to try and summon more, your old dragons will time out and disappear.

Necromancy
The control of mindless zombies means that you must maintain control and the ability to give this mindless creature direction and purpose. For example giving a zombie a TW (Wait! order) is pretty much meaningless because its a retarded mound of flesh. Therefore it takes sustained mental focus to maintain control of your zombie hordes.

Before you complain that my solution to summoning and necromancy are different, it is because they are completely different and it is intuitively understood that summoning is different from raising the dead or stitching together an abomination. Now,

The optimal solution to preventing zombie hordes is that due to the sustained mental focus it takes to focus the mind of a mindless creature (ie zombie), past the control of One or Two necromantic beings, each creature you summon thereafter has a certain % chance to break free of its shackles each turn. I'm thinking 2-4% chance per turn for you to lose focus on any creature once you control more than 2. This mechanic is easy to understand and can be explained in one sentence appended to the description of raise skeleton/raise dead/other necromantic enslavements. For example, "Controlling mindless creatures takes sustained mental effort, and for every creature past two, there is a chance that you will not be able to maintain control of every member of your horde"



Alright kind of had to pump this out, I'll check back later.

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Post Monday, 19th March 2012, 20:31

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

galehar wrote:An interesting idea (MarvinPA again) is that summons out of LOS have their duration reduced much faster. I like it.


I hope that, if this is implemented, there is an out-of-LOS "grace period" so that summoners aren't losing summons more quickly through normal adventuring without engaging in any activities that developers are trying to prevent.

Earth Elementals, for example, are slow but long-lasting. A player using them without being slow themselves probably moves out of LOS of them routinely.

Without a grace period, steam/smoke/fog effects near the player would start to despawn their summons.

Checkerboard-pattern vaults guarantee frequent LOS-loss for any summons that are sometimes more than 1 square away from you.
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Post Monday, 19th March 2012, 21:20

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

Regarding limiting Necromancy hordes: I imagine the devs don't want to make undead armies more micromanagement-intensive. If a "chance to lose control" means the minion could become not-an-ally, then they could be regained using Control Undead, right? So then the limiting factor on undead-horde size becomes how often the player is willing to recast? Probably not good.
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Post Monday, 19th March 2012, 21:58

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

mattlistener wrote:
galehar wrote:An interesting idea (MarvinPA again) is that summons out of LOS have their duration reduced much faster. I like it.


I hope that, if this is implemented, there is an out-of-LOS "grace period" so that summoners aren't losing summons more quickly through normal adventuring without engaging in any activities that developers are trying to prevent.

Earth Elementals, for example, are slow but long-lasting. A player using them without being slow themselves probably moves out of LOS of them routinely.

Without a grace period, steam/smoke/fog effects near the player would start to despawn their summons.

Checkerboard-pattern vaults guarantee frequent LOS-loss for any summons that are sometimes more than 1 square away from you.

And how do you lose earth elementals through normal adventuring? Autoexploring? If they are used in a fight, low speed shouldn't be a concern.
I also don't see a problem with steam and smoke impairing summoning. This adds tactical depth (and those effects are usually cause by the player anyway). Same with checkerboard or other terrain. Just find an open terrain to have a better control on your summons.
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Post Monday, 19th March 2012, 22:01

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

mattlistener wrote:
galehar wrote:An interesting idea (MarvinPA again) is that summons out of LOS have their duration reduced much faster. I like it.


I hope that, if this is implemented, there is an out-of-LOS "grace period" so that summoners aren't losing summons more quickly through normal adventuring without engaging in any activities that developers are trying to prevent.


Summons out of sight "decaying" makes the Recall spell simultaneously less useful (less likely to have summons out of sight) and more useful (greater need to keep them in sight), but while a "t-f" keypress may make more noise, it also costs less mana.
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Post Tuesday, 20th March 2012, 01:13

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

If out-of-LOS penalties are introduced then autoexplore could be tweaked so it maintained pace with your summons instead of rushing on ahead. This would be a great interface improvement for summoners in any instance.
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Post Tuesday, 20th March 2012, 10:41

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

mumra wrote:If out-of-LOS penalties are introduced then autoexplore could be tweaked so it maintained pace with your summons instead of rushing on ahead. This would be a great interface improvement for summoners in any instance.

I have that somewhere in my todo. Even more important for necromancers herding zombie hords, yred and beogh.
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Post Tuesday, 20th March 2012, 16:27

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

galehar wrote:
mumra wrote:If out-of-LOS penalties are introduced then autoexplore could be tweaked so it maintained pace with your summons instead of rushing on ahead. This would be a great interface improvement for summoners in any instance.

I have that somewhere in my todo. Even more important for necromancers herding zombie hords, yred and beogh.


That sounds cool.

I seem to be having a run of suggestions galehar doesn't like. :-/
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Long-term goal: complete the pantheon.

Abyss Ambulator

Posts: 1221

Joined: Thursday, 10th March 2011, 19:45

Post Tuesday, 20th March 2012, 16:29

Re: Caps for Summoning and Necromancy

What about, instead of having a hard cap (per spell or whatever), make summons more likely to turn out hostile the more you already have?

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