U!ktaska, God of Surprise


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

User avatar

Dungeon Master

Posts: 332

Joined: Friday, 15th July 2011, 22:43

Post Thursday, 8th November 2012, 16:21

U!ktaska, God of Surprise

I've had this proposal sitting unfinished in my drafts for a while, and it's deeply similar to Xiphias's recent proposal -- the key differences being the piety mechanic, the flavor, and deafness. I'll skimp a bit on describing the concepts that have identical counterparts in Xiphias's thread.

Description
A mischievous trickster god, U!ktaska irritates and amuses the rest of the pantheon in equal measure. It is known that the first basilisk may have been born when U!ktaska snuck up on a stone and shouted at it, startling it into hatching. Even great orbs of eyes can't see U!ktaska coming. Followers of this god spread bewilderment and amusement where they can, practicing discretion and silence at one moment and letting loose with a thunderous cacophony the next.

Conduct and Piety
Like many gods, U!ktaska becomes bored quickly, but in U!ktaska's case it happens quite quickly. Followers gain piety by waking and startling monsters, and gain even more by waking monsters with shouts.
This follows a model of "volatile" piety -- while most gods have a piety mechanic that works on the strategic level, slowly building up to full and slowly falling again, this god is intended to have a tactical piety scale, allowing players to gain six stars of piety over several hundred turns, and lose those stars over a similar (perhaps slightly longer) period of time.
Piety goes up when monsters wake up. This occurs even if the monsters are not on screen, so that especially noisy characters (firestorming, shattering, shield-of-the-gonging folks) gain the proper benefits of this god, albeit with less control.
U!ktaska likes it most of all if players can wake sleeping monsters by shouting -- bonus piety is awarded for proximity. In practice, this means that players who want to gain a lot of piety quickly should sneak up next to sleeping monsters and press tt. Stabbing doesn't award any piety unless the enemy survives the attempt.
Piety goes down over time, and is spent on several powers. Willfully using any form of Silence bestows penance.

Powers
*..... -- Deafening Shout
Shouting (with tt) has a chance of bestowing several status effects, depending on monster HD and piety/invocation skill. It affects all enemies that are in earshot but is limited to LOS. Players can always shout, even when silenced.
Invocation skill and monster HD govern success -- perhaps HD isn't the best thing to check against, I'm open to suggestions. Piety determines the pool of status effects that can be bestowed: at one star and above, this ability causes deafness (more on this later); three stars and above, deafness and confusion; five stars and above, deafness, confusion, and paralysis. It is harder to cause confusion and hardest to cause paralysis with this ability -- but each status effect should be rolled for separately.
Coding-wise, this ability should check for piety change first and then bestow status effects [/i]second[/i] -- or to put it differently, if shouting and waking enemies would bring a player's piety level up, they won't have to shout again to gain the benefits of the higher piety level. Otherwise, players would have to approach sleeping enemies and shout twice to get the full benefit of this ability -- not my intention.
Players shouldn't be able to shout repeatedly at enemies until they're affected, either. The effectiveness of the ability against any particular enemy should decrease each time it is used.

Deafness: Penalizes an enemy's ability to track the player while out of sight, and also decreases EV. Non-living and undead creatures are immune, though I'm not sure if all demons should be or not. That's up for discussion, I suppose.

**.... -- Muffled Surprise
At two stars and above, U!ktask passively prevents monsters from attracting one another with shouts/barks/other loud noises. Alarm traps are not completely disabled but have diminished effective range. This is a similar ability as found in other recent proposals. I am not sure if it should merely reduce enemy shout distance and scale with piety, culminating in complete muteness at six stars -- or if it should be complete at two stars. I'm leaning toward the latter, as I want it to be noticeable. If you wake up half the level to hit six piety stars, it's a paltry compensation to prevent the other half from noticing.
If this ability seems in need of buffing, it could extend to cover player spell noise and combat noise, scaling up with piety. I'm not entirely sure this is necessary or appropriate, but it's an option I considered.

****.. -- Piercing Voice
Another ability seen in other recent proposals, an activated passive ability (like Yred's injury mirror) that allows players to cast spells and read scrolls through silence.

****** -- Surprise Trip (all of these powers need better names but this one especially)
Consumes all (or almost all) piety, an ability that noisily self-shafts with a strong preference for dropping players next to monsters. Automatically utilizes a full-powered Deafening Shout on arrival; potentially players will get a good amount of piety back, if they wake up enough enemies upon arriving on the deeper level. Perhaps it should take a few turns to warm up -- I dislike the idea of players reading a teleport scroll right before shafting into a new level, but then again that tactic isn't necessarily a safer one. Problematically, this opens up the god to allow some seriously faster win times, so this ability should perhaps be limited by some other factor.

Penance/Wrath
Short bouts of the following effects: Loud noises centered on the player's location; enemies around the level passively teleported to the player's location; one-tile silence centered on the player. General stealth penalties could be applied, enemy shouts could be buffed. I understand god wrath is going to have some big changes sometime soon, so I'm going to leave this section general/sketchy for now.

Post-script: Stealth is typically a pre-fight strategy -- the gameplay this proposal is designed to open up is a risky post-fight stealth option, while also giving players new ways of getting into trouble. dpeg suggested some kind of echolocation ability, but I am not sure where to fit it in, and I don't want to step on Ash's toes too much.

Thoughts?

Mines Malingerer

Posts: 47

Joined: Wednesday, 7th November 2012, 10:13

Post Thursday, 8th November 2012, 16:48

Re: U!ktaska, God of Surprise

I have no input on the balance aspect, but thematically I love this idea.

Blades Runner

Posts: 554

Joined: Tuesday, 25th January 2011, 14:24

Post Thursday, 8th November 2012, 17:34

Re: U!ktaska, God of Surprise

Mechanically, I'm wondering how a tactical piety counter would play out if you need to backtrack to an already cleared area, or spend some time in a monster-free zone (temple, etc.) Perhaps the piety should decay asymptotically, so that it decays very quickly at high piety but drops to a very slow decay rate at low piety.

Also - what's with the '!' in the name? I suppose that's supposed to evoke surprise? Unpronounceable, though. (unless it's supposed to be taken as a stop, perhaps it could be re-written as - "U k'taska" or something?)

Overall - it seems interesting. You'd need a character with high stealth to have any chance with this deity (unless proximity is treated very generously), but stabbing is more or less pointless. I'd say the ideal would be a melee-focused character who nonetheless had high-stealth, as the abilities would be less useful for ranged or stabbers, with perhaps a special niche for speedrunners, though 'U' doesn't provide much in the way of emergency backup abilities. The benefit is basically to gamble on incapacitating a targets in exchange for giving up lots of opportunities for ranged pre-engagement, plus self-shafting on demand.

Personally, I think it needs another gimmick in the mix - and flavor wise it seems to be stepping on Xom's toes a bit (though not much mechanically.)

Spider Stomper

Posts: 195

Joined: Monday, 25th April 2011, 20:48

Post Thursday, 8th November 2012, 18:17

Re: U!ktaska, God of Surprise

JeffQyzt wrote:Also - what's with the '!' in the name? I suppose that's supposed to evoke surprise? Unpronounceable, though. (unless it's supposed to be taken as a stop, perhaps it could be re-written as - "U k'taska" or something?)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alveolar_clicks

For this message the author ElectricAlbatross has received thanks:
JeffQyzt

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 4055

Joined: Tuesday, 10th January 2012, 19:49

Post Thursday, 8th November 2012, 18:43

Re: U!ktaska, God of Surprise

I am wondering why you are giving this god a 3* ability that requires you to be in penance to make it useful.

(Silent spectres are very rare and usually only appear on floors where silence isn't useful anyway (do you really care about silencing skeletal warriors?); Mennas is a single unique; Eresh is a single enemy; I can't think of anything else that actually has silence).

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 2996

Joined: Tuesday, 28th June 2011, 20:41

Location: Berlin

Post Thursday, 8th November 2012, 18:47

Re: U!ktaska, God of Surprise

snip, lrn2read cerebovssquire
Last edited by cerebovssquire on Thursday, 8th November 2012, 18:47, edited 1 time in total.

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 4055

Joined: Tuesday, 10th January 2012, 19:49

Post Thursday, 8th November 2012, 18:47

Re: U!ktaska, God of Surprise

cerebovssquire wrote:the player

Right, but willfully creating silence puts you in penance!!
User avatar

Dungeon Master

Posts: 431

Joined: Tuesday, 13th September 2011, 17:34

Post Friday, 9th November 2012, 03:40

Re: U!ktaska, God of Surprise

He should have a passive ability that confuses monsters for a few turns after they wake up, as they flail around trying to figure out what the hell is going on.
User avatar

Dungeon Master

Posts: 332

Joined: Friday, 15th July 2011, 22:43

Post Friday, 9th November 2012, 11:27

Re: U!ktaska, God of Surprise

crate wrote:I am wondering why you are giving this god a 3* ability that requires you to be in penance to make it useful.

(Silent spectres are very rare and usually only appear on floors where silence isn't useful anyway (do you really care about silencing skeletal warriors?); Mennas is a single unique; Eresh is a single enemy; I can't think of anything else that actually has silence).


I'll concede that silence is such a rare threat that this ability isn't incredibly necessary, and I don't think it's necessarily important flavor-wise, either. I just imagine that if the game had a sound god, said deity shouldn't let the rare occurrence of silence be an obstacle. Perhaps making it entirely passive would be better, so that players wouldn't have to think of it at all. Or it could be scrapped.

JeffQyzt wrote:Personally, I think it needs another gimmick in the mix - and flavor wise it seems to be stepping on Xom's toes a bit (though not much mechanically.)


I do agree that it needs another gimmick or two. Something that works like the old Project Noise could be nice, but I'm wary to suggest re-introducing something that was originally problematic. Maybe an ability that summons a noisy illusion that runs away from the character at high speed, attracting enemies away from the player? It wouldn't play nicely with the piety mechanic, unfortunately -- I considered this one before.

Echolocation is something I've considered but I know too little about how sound works in the game. It could be interesting to get the "shape" of things out-of-sight from shouts (like, you can see the monster's glyph, or even an item's glyph, but not the color or description) but I wouldn't want to put too much into "t-t." Passively boosting the player's ability to hear things would also be quite interesting, but again it depends on how sound works currently.

Flavor-wise, I'm shooting for various different trickster gods and other figures, and I don't think Xom follows that sort of theme -- he's just generally wacky and zany. I don't want U! to be silly, just trickstery.

Blades Runner

Posts: 554

Joined: Tuesday, 25th January 2011, 14:24

Post Friday, 9th November 2012, 13:29

Re: U!ktaska, God of Surprise

ontoclasm wrote:He should have a passive ability that confuses monsters for a few turns after they wake up, as they flail around trying to figure out what the hell is going on.


You mean like this?

*..... -- Deafening Shout
Shouting (with tt) has a chance of bestowing several status effects...this ability causes deafness (more on this later); three stars and above, deafness and confusion; five stars and above, deafness, confusion, and paralysis...

Blades Runner

Posts: 554

Joined: Tuesday, 25th January 2011, 14:24

Post Friday, 9th November 2012, 13:44

Re: U!ktaska, God of Surprise

roctavian wrote:Flavor-wise, I'm shooting for various different trickster gods and other figures, and I don't think Xom follows that sort of theme -- he's just generally wacky and zany. I don't want U! to be silly, just trickstery.


RE: trickster gods/figures - something that frequently figures into their tales is their defeat or embarrassment of clearly superior foes (usually via unorthodox means.) Not really sure how to implement that in a roguelike other than what currently is implemented for Okawaru.

Another common theme is luck - or, perhaps, the ability to see the utility of things others deem useless (what is luck to some is insight to others.)

Also - tricksters aren't necessarily heroes, depending on the culture - see Loki, for instance. They are always able to break or subvert rules, though. It's unclear how many rules you can break in Crawl without getting too meta, though, since you're already an outsider who's bent on murdering and pillaging the entire dungeon...

Something frequently necessary for tricksters is a means of escape, either before their trick takes effect, or afterwards if it goes awry - perhaps you could look at giving more options here? This might also broaden the appeal, as every character needs escape options.

Vestibule Violator

Posts: 1567

Joined: Friday, 21st January 2011, 22:56

Post Friday, 9th November 2012, 14:58

Re: U!ktaska, God of Surprise

The powers sound a lot like Zin's to me. Deafening shout is a lot like recite (get invo for free hexes), but probably a bit more useful, while the shafting skill fills the role of imprison and sanctuary but is worse. I could do without another Zin.

The piety mechanism sounds sufficiently different and somewhat interesting, but not interesting enough on its own IMO.
User avatar

Dungeon Master

Posts: 332

Joined: Friday, 15th July 2011, 22:43

Post Monday, 9th December 2013, 07:23

Re: U!ktaska, God of Surprise

Bumping this thread since it's God Week in GDD. I haven't thought of any new mechanics or gimmicks for this god since the original post -- still canvassing for power ideas, any thoughts?

Return to Game Design Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by ST Software for PTF.