Name dcss:brainstorm:background: reaver
Summary Suggestion for improved differentiation of Reaver background
Added by djnrempel
Added on 2011-01-16 04:45

After a long thread in the Tavern discussing different ways to salvage the Reaver background, here is a proposal that met with some approval and should be considered by the devs. I (danr) would be willing to try to code a patch for this if the idea is approved.

The main concept is to make reavers a melee class that also uses elemental close-range offensive magic. They still use conjurations, but instead of having the same book as fire and ice conjurers, they have different books focused on dealing damage at close range. However, unlike crusaders, these spells are not buffs to the player, they are spells used directly offensively.

Another distinction is that the fire book also draws on air magic, while the ice book would also draw on earth magic. This differentiates it further from the more usual fire/earth and ice/air pairings.

Another distinctive feature of this class is that they start with a branded weapon according to their flavour. To balance, this weapon would be a dagger rather than a short sword. This balances because, while the brand is permanent (+), they do not have the option to choose different brands for different occasions (-) like a crusader. Flame brand does not add much damage on a dagger (avg. +25% on base dam. of 4), but it does add to the flavour of being a “fiery” opponent at close range. The freezing dagger of the Ice Reaver is a bit more effective in the early game due to the effect on snakes and imps, but this is balanced by the Ice Reaver book not being as strong offensively.

Also, the Fire Reaver would have scrolls of immolation pre-identified, and the Ice Reaver would perhaps have something earthy or freezy pre-identified - potion of slowing, wand of digging?

Without further ado, here's how it might look (for Humans). I'm thinking these may work best as separate backgrounds rather than going by book choice, as there are other flavour distinctions:

Fire Reaver (Flame Dervish?)

Fueled by the scorching winds of the desert.

Str: 10 Int: 13 Dex: 13


Fighting: 2 Short Blades: 3

Spellcasting: 1 Conjurations: 1 Fire Magic: 1 Air Magic: 1


a) +0 dagger of flame b) +0 robe (should be red) c) Book of Fire Reaving:

 a) Shock
 b) Flame Tongue
 c) Conjure Flame
 d) Static Discharge
 e) Sticky Flame
 f) (possibly) Ring of Flame (as Lvl 6 spell, per MrMisterMonkey's suggestion)

d) Bread ration


I like the above book for Reavers, although two caveats: I doubt Flame Tongue would see use, and I'd still like to keep Reavers Conjurations-centric. Thus I'd replace FT with Throw Flame, and Ring of Flame with Bolt of Fire. (I've been thinking about Fire/Air book too for Reavers now that Static Discharge was buffed and Sticky Flame nerfed. I just couldn't think of a good early Air Conjuration. It was a good point that you use yourself to keep monsters in place to bounce-Shock them effectively. Meph Cloud would of course be a good Reaver spell, but it's in so many starting books (plus it's overpowered)). Off-topic, I think this might be a neat FE book: Flame Tongue, Fire Brand, Conjure Flame, Sticky Flame, Bolt of Fire, Ring of Flames. — evktalo 2011-01-16 09:29

(I forgot to mention that along with making Ring of Flames level 6 it should include Conj (Fire/Charm/Conj or Fire/Conj; compare with F.Cloud's Ice/Air/Conj). Ring of Flames fits in very nicely with the reaver playstyle, anyhow, and quite much more so than Bolt of Fire.) — mrmistermonkey 2011-01-16 10:37

As for starting gear, why a dagger specifically? Tying magic schools to weapons like this strikes me as arbitrary and annoying. Same goes for ice/club down there. Further on starting gear, hybrids tend to start with leather, but I find a robe nice as they also tend to have less magical competence early on. Even further, tie starting food to race, not class. — mrmistermonkey 2011-01-16 10:37

I suggested dagger b/c I thought the weapon should be nerfed to allow for the flame brand. If this class is seen as too weak with the spell skill split, perhaps short sword / hand axe / spear etc. would be appropriate. The food - my thinking was this would default for flavour, but be adjusted by race if necessary. — danr 2011-01-17 17:04
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the reason people don't like Reavers right now that they're spread too thin, split between being a mediocre warrior and a mediocre mage in a school that doesn't support melee? I don't think adding a third element is going to help, especially not if there's not a single hybrid air-fire spell in the game. I could sort of see an Air Reaver, since bouncing spells can be more effective at close range, but if you don't add swiftness they'll look unattractive next to AE and if you do it'll look too much like AE. As for fire, I think it'd work pretty ok, but should point out that again there's a ton of overlap with FE (and it'd only really be used much because of sticky flame's goofy broken state). Ultimately it seems like the only way to make Reavers different from other classes is by making them even weaker than they already are. — brickman 2011-01-17 07:18

Ice Reaver (Northlander)

Anchored in the frozen soil of the North.

Str: 12 Int: 12 Dex: 12


Fighting: 2 Maces & Flails: 3

Spellcasting: 1 Transmutation: 1 Ice Magic: 1 Earth Magic: 1


a) +0 club of freezing b) +0 animal skin c) Book of Ice Reaving:

 a) Freeze
 b) Sandblast
 c) Passwall
 d) Condensation Shield
 e) Ice Form
 f) (possibly) Lee's Rapid Deconstruction, Petrify, or Statue Form?

d) Meat ration


Same as I wrote above for the club. Mirroring what evktalo said a bit, I can't see Sandblast getting use (unless it gets a huge buff, ice reavers start with a big stack of stones, and freeze gets a huge nerf). As for new stuff, Freeze strikes me as more of a replacement for melee, rather than a complement to it, which is a bit odd, but whatever. Passwall has no relation to the Reaver playstyle. Condensation Shield is more of a Crusadery (self-buff) deal. Ice form is not only a self-buff, but unarmed combat, and shoehorning ice reavers into that, especially after giving them a weapon, is funky (in a bad way). LRD might be good if its formulae shape up; it can hit bunches of enemies lined up in corridors (assuming of course reavers are beefy enough to take a beating from the frontmost), at least. Petrify only really works with stabbing (Stalker) or in conjunction with LRD (and poorly so even then, but this could shape up). As far as I know Statue Form is only good with unarmed, so it shares all of my Ice Form gripes, but it can at least wield a weapon. — mrmistermonkey 2011-01-16 10:52

In my opinion, this is a dumbed down version of the Ice Elementalist with some Transmuter thrown in, or the other way around if you prefer. The fact that only two of those are even offensive spells is a pretty big warning flag that this book is a mistake. And on principle, I don't think that the way to save a class which is currently hated for being ineffective at two barely-complementary things is to double the number of skills they need to keep up–earth and transfig and ice and conj and melee? There's not even any species with the aptitudes to pull that off, and if they came close they'd be better off with a real IE or Tr. Since Ice Elemtalist is already a hybrid-melee class so you should probably forget an Ice Reaver–there might be room for an earth reaver but it'd look an awful lot like a slightly modified EE and the only important spell you could add to that book is Statue Form. — brickman 2011-01-17 07:06
Fire and Air have absolutely no synergy, neither have Ice and Earth. Fire and Earth, or Ice and Air on the other hand have a lot of it, but only for focused conjurers – hybrids won't use both until midgame. And as Brickman said, having to train both melee and magic means you can't afford to spread yourself thin. — kilobyte 2011-01-17 10:55

Synergy with melee

Reaver have been removed because they lack a unique spellbook, so let's find one. What are the spells that have good synergy with melee fighting? Obvious ones are conjure flame, stick flame and static discharge. Let's add shock for the close range multizap, way to train air magic and some mean of hitting the wimpy monster afraid of conjured flame. Fire brand is very useful for melee and helps train fire for the L3 fire spells. We can also add corona, so you can train a bit of Hexes for casting fire brand, but it's not necessary (Crusaders start right at the branding spells). So here is the new book of reaver:

  • Corona (or not)
  • Shock
  • Fire Brand
  • Sticky Flame
  • Conjure Flame
  • Static Discharge

It has 4 magic schools, which might seems a lot but I see it as choice. Conjuration and Fire are the most important ones, Hexes and Air are optional. Also, Crusader's starting book has 6 schools, with a focus on 2 (Charms/Hexes). — galehar 2011-02-21 15:22

I'd be good with that, though I like the danr/monqy/me suggestion above better for it's full Conjurations-focus. I do think Corona and Fire Brand would be helpful spells though. — evktalo 2011-02-21 16:41
There's already a caster-melee hybrid that focuses on the ex-enchantments; it's called Crusader. Reaver is supposed to focus on conjurations and melee. It makes sense to throw them a bone with Fire Brand since most other hybrids get at least one spell like that, but I say that should be it for the non-conjurations. Five spells of levels 1-2-3-4-4 with one of them having legendary staying power sounds like a plenty full spellbook, and I think this proposal is the one that should be replacing reaver (provided static discharge also gets fixed at some point). — brickman 2011-02-22 04:47
If we take away corona, levels are 1-2-3-3-4. And static discharge has been significantly buffed already. Even with corona, the focus is still on conjuration. But we can also see the background as focusing on fire and offensive buffs instead of conjuration. This is offtopic, but that could go well with reflavouring Crusader with a focus on ice and defensive buffs. — galehar 2011-02-23 17:28

Conj/Hex Reaver

Alternate approach that I think is more interesting than the existing proposals. For reavers who destroy minds as well as bodies. — eronarn 2011-03-22 22:31

  • (Possibly Magic Dart)
  • (Possibly Confusing Touch)
  • “Bewitching Blast” (Conj/Hexes 1)
  • “Subjugation Conjuration” (Conj/Hexes 3)
  • Iskenderun's Mystic Blast (Conj 4)
  • Enslave (Hexes 4)
  • (Possibly Cause Fear)
  • “Reaving Bolt” (Conj/Hexes 5)

“Bewitching Blast”: MR-resisted; some damage and a chance to daze. Short range. Doesn't work on mindless creatures.

(Possibly use Magic Dart instead.)

“Subjugation Conjuration”: Radiates a blast of stupefying energy, hitting adjacent targets. This has a chance to daze, or possibly confuse. Difficult to resist via MR.

IMB: Their only option for longer-ranged attacks. Good for picking off enemies, but not against crowds.

Enslave: Very efficient to use, if you charm something and then fight alongside it (so you get hit instead of it). Enslaving dazed or confused or already enslaved creatures should be much easier.

“Reaving Bolt”: Bolt spell (or maybe another AOE). Distorts the magic surrounding enemies; this deals damage to them proportional to how heavily enchanted they are.

Idea is that you have the capability to blow stuff up, but your multi-target spell is only efficient if you've debuffed your enemies first. You have very efficient debuffs, but they're short range. This should lead to a playstyle where you soften stuff up as it approaches, then debuff it, then finish it off.

Conj + hex sounds like a great combination, especially since lots of races with good conj apt (DE,KE,HO) also have good stabbing apt. However, I think some of the spells proposed reinvent the wheel. First, confusing touch is more powerful than both short-range hexes proposed and has a lower cost. Second, mephitic cloud is already a conjuration that confuses targets.
It's OK to have overlapping effects. Meph cloud is a poison-based, targeted, noisy spell. The proposal has two short-range, noiseless conjurations (that also use Hex, rather than Pois/Air). That's different enough to work. Confusing Touch is a good idea, though - I totally forgot about that one.
Some other spell choices seem a bit off. IMB is overpowered in this book, as the only similar spell in the starting books, throw icicle, requires twice the skill investment.
IMB is worse than Throw Icicle, though, so that's not a fair comparison to make.

Reaving bolt has the disadvantage of being mostly useless vs. slime creature packs and skeletal warriors. I'd make it instead do AOE damage when aimed at a caster, so that hitting an orc wizard would harm adjacent priests/vanilla orcs (maybe change name to “feedback?”). Then the spell would be useful in mid/late game against slowed or hasted enemies. Keep in mind that AOE isn't strictly necessary in the early game, as it is quite possible to clear most of Lair with throw icicle or IMB/sticky glame.

Actually, slime creatures have very low MR for how tough they are - it'll work well to hex them up and then blast them apart. AOE might work well for it, though… or perhaps it's a single-target spell that makes a hexed creature blow up, and when it does, it scatters its hexes onto other nearby creatures! That'd be awesome.
I will mention that some of the spells on the “new hexes” page would fit this book very well, or a “sequel” to the book. In particular, a spell I proposed, Orb of Distraction, is conj/hex, and the voodoo doll spell also seems like a match.
I very much like the flavor of a background destroying body and mind together. The name “reaver” suits this background just as well as it does a conj/melee hybrid. If a different name is desired, I'd suggest “witch.” Since the book's focus is on destroying mind and body together, I'd suggest the name “The book of unravelings.”
I really like the conj/hex combo idea. The “spilling hexes” could be a hex in itself, that does nothing alone, but spills the hexes of the target when it dies. — evktalo 2011-03-31 19:24

Fire/Earth Reaver

Now the Conjurer has been redesigned with only one spellbook using ice/air/poison magic, perhaps it is time to bring back the Reaver, based around fire and earth conjurations with some combat buffs. This could probably work without needing to design and balance any new spells.

Suggested Spells:

  • Magic Dart
  • Fire Brand
  • Stoneskin
  • Stone Arrow
  • Conjure Flame
  • Sticky Flame

A possible problem with this book is that the two level 2 spells have no schools in common with each other or with the level 1 spell, so it could make it hard to learn them. Perhaps it would be better to replace Magic Dart with Flame Tongue or Fire Brand with Throw Flame, but I was trying to avoid too much overlap with the Fire Elementalist's book.

After some brainstorming in the tavern, several names were suggested for the book, including:

  • Book of Reaving
  • Book of Arcane Assault
  • Book of Brimstone

Of these, I think Book of Brimstone is best.

I don't have any concrete suggestions for what their starting skills and stats should be; I thought I would leave that to someone who more experience with development.

jeremiah 2011-08-05

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dcss/brainstorm/background/propose/reaver.txt · Last modified: 2011-12-21 17:04 by XuaXua
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