Ranged Combat

Ideas not used for the 0.6 ranged overhaul, which included ammunition branding, new brands (needles and otherwise) etc. The old content can be found in Ranged Combat overhaul, 0.6 target. Here are ideas listed not (yet) used, together with new ones. The idea is to balance the various forms of ranged combat better (power-wise) as well as to make them more diverse.


Ranged combat seems to be very strong, having been so in 0.5 and earlier, even more so with the brands added in 0.6.

  • Damage output is very high — it would be good if a Bows 27 char with vorpal +7 longbow with +7 ammo could not deal with an orb of fire easily when not hasted (some numbers would be nice here: high level conjurer v high level hunter v high level fighter)
  • Ranged attacks are inherently spammable, balanced only by ammo rarity/mulching.
  • Only one skill needs to be fully developed. It's easy to max Bows and be a proficient melee fighter and learn some magic, all in the course of collecting three runes.
  • Advantages over conjurations: No monster resistance problems, no running out of mp, faster attack speed, no armour penalty. If you include portal projectile, smite style targeting.
    • The above three points are the main advantages of ranged combat over conjurations. They're not bad by themselves. (The main drawbacks of ranged combat in comparison with spells are these: less flexibility (spellcasters can adapt to many tactical and strategical problems); dependency on items.) — dpeg 2010-03-19 23:19
  • Using highly enchanted ammo is better both in terms of durability and damage. It's a no-brainer to use the best enchanted ammo. See below.
  • add more – brands are missing above, for instance

Some damage numbers for comparison purposes

  • +10/+10 giant spiked club of speed, 27 Fighting, 27 Maces and Flails, 35 strength, 15 dexterity
    • medium damage 35, maximum damage 135, delay 4
  • +10 steel javelin, 27 Throwing, 33 strength, 40 dexterity
    • medium damage 46, maximum damage 224 (note that scale_dice() brings it much closer to 112), delay 10
  • +10/+10 longbow of speed, +10 steel arrows, 27 Bows, 16 strength
    • medium damage 34, maximum damage 176 (scale_dice() brings this much closer to 92), delay 4
  • +10/+10 sling of speed, +10 steel bullets, 27 Slings, 23 strength
    • medium damage 25, maximum damage 168 (scale_dice() brings this much closer to 88), delay 4
  • Dragon Form, 27 Fighting, 27 Unarmed Combat, 33 strength
    • medium damage 75, maximum damage 243, delay 5

paroid 2010-12-10 23:58

You're aware that +10 enchantments don't exist, steel arrows don't exist, 33str/40 dex is rather unlikely, and that speed isn't a typical brand, never mind on a GSC, right? You can't balance something only using theory, regardless. — og17 2010-12-11 00:15
I was not aware of some of those specifics. I've created a simulation program to get me a much more reasonable idea of average damage than my by hand calculations. I've also examined some logs of wins to get a realistic feel for the kind of weaponry someone winning the game might have. — paroid 2010-12-12 03:03
That's interesting. Can you upload your program on Mantis? — galehar 2010-12-12 14:56
I've uploaded it to Mantis at https://crawl.develz.org/mantis/view.php?id=2964paroid 2010-12-12 18:41
Better Damage Numbers

Make ammo pluses only affect mulching

Idea from og17. This will have several effects:

  • It will reduce the potential damage of ranged combat (general RC nerf).
  • It will make it desirable to enchant your launcher, offering choices.
  • Non-launcher throwables (javelins, large rocks) suffers the most regarding damage. A natural solution would be to give them two enchantments (like weapons), one for mulching, the other for damage. (This solution is natural because launcher ammunition only uses one enchantment as the launcher already gets two — this reason breaks down for launcher-less missiles.)

A melee/launcher hybrid would want to enchant the launcher to increase their ranged damage output. They can fall back on melee to conserve ammo. A caster/launcher hybrid would want to enchant the ammo to keep the stock up, and use branding to get their damage output up. This assumes skill investment works so that most characters need to choose between melee and casting.

evktalo thinks this would be great, and that this plus higher RC skill costs would accomplish a lot.
dpeg also supports this.

When implemented, needs consideration about which EW scrolls affect what. (See 2403).

Reduce the maximum enchantment available on ammunition or even launchers

Idea from sealer. At the moment it is quite easy to enchant a stack of ammunition to a big number, partly because you need 1 enchant weapon scroll to affect both the accuracy and the damage rating (need confirmation on this one). Reducing the maximum enchantment on a stack of ammunition to 3 or 4 might help here. It also might be a good idea to make ammunition harder to enchant in bigger stack, or increase the propability of a failed enchant attempt after +2.

This would somewhat reduce the damage output of ranged weapons, probably keeping them from going over the roof, while not being as radical nerf as making the ammunition enchantment only affect mulching.

Disallowing enchant weapon I scroll to be used on ammunition may, or may not help as well in this regard.

Other things that could be tweaked

  • Launcher plusses affect mulching and range
  • Ammo plusses affect accuracy and damage

This way, the counterintuitive aspect (save bad ammo for later, use best ammo) would be gone. It would still be possible to increase ammo preservation using enchanting scrolls. Players could choose between increasing damage output and ammo preservation. Alternative solution: make arrows, stones, bolts disposable by design. They would always be gone in 1 shot. This would also solve ammo collecting issues once and for all. — b0rsuk 2010-04-11 09:53

The second proposal is out of the question. You can compare with a character using wands to see how unfeasible rangers would become. The first proposal is not out of the question, it competes naturally with the above one: (A) launcher enchantments for damage/accuracy, ammunition enchantments for mulching vs (B) the other way around. The disadvantages of (B) are: Branded missiles should break more often, that's a mulching effect as a function of ammunition; tactically, you should choose missile type depending on ego and mulching rate, with the (B) proposal, the mulching choice would be moved to switching launchers (use the one with the highest enchantment); improving ranged damage output with (A) means selecting and enchanting one item (the launcher), just as with melee combat whereas with (B), you'd need to collect large piles of missiles and enchant those. For these reasons, I went with (A) above. — dpeg 2010-04-12 00:16
  • Reduce damage. (the above change to ammo pluses would be a strong first step)
  • Reduce ammo generation.
    • I believe that bullet generation has been improved, and it shows. It's too much now, in my opinion. — dpeg 2010-03-19 23:19
  • dpeg's suggestion from ##crawl-dev: Make the ranged combat skills more expensive. We could give them an increased base cost like spellcasting. — rob 2010-03-20 10:02
  • Balance portal projectile separately.
  • While we are tweaking this, we should have an eye on diversifying the various ranged combat styles along the way. Ideally, an endgame human specialising in ranged combat should feel/play differently, depending on whether he uses slings, bows, crossbows or javelins. Here are some options:
    • Availability of ammunition. (This includes when/where monsters will generate the ammunition).
    • Innate mulching rates.
    • Availability of brands.
    • Effect of the skill (e.g. shooting faster vs more damage).
    • Effect of Dex/Str.
    • Interference of shields and heavier armours.
    • Weight (mostly for javelins and large rocks).
    • Reloading (could be an option for crossbows).
  • add more

On existing brands

  • Fire Arrows: b000ring. Anyone can design a +damage brand. I also want my enemies to explode when killed with fire arrows. — b0rsuk the Exploder 2010-09-12 08:42
    • If you want exploding arrows, it'd be much more sensible to spawn actual exploding arrows (and the brands can't be combined either, as exploding has different uses). Never mind that it's curious for flaming arrows to explode, but not flaming bullets or bolts, or that fire doesn't actually make things explode. — og17 2010-09-30 18:00
  • Exploding ammo seem very, very weak, and usually spawns at the point where it does insignificant damage. Fixed 2d5 of damage isn't very useful after dealing with early bands of orcs. Also, mulching rate of 100% makes it even less useful, but tweaking the damage might fix this problem as well.
  • On the other hand, both silver and steel brand seem to do way too much damage. I was able to kill ancient liches and orbs of fire with 3 shots of silver bullets with only 16-17 slings skill. It might have something to do with the big enchantment on both launcher and the ammo, even then it seems to do way too much damage to suspectible monsters. Steel ammo mulching rate is too good, while having great damage potential as well. This is blown out of proportion with launchers of speed/ fast launchers like slings.
  • Penetrating ammo might be too useful especially in corridors, maybe limit the number of monsters it can hit, or reduce the damage by a small amount? — sealer

Launchers vs ammunition brands

dpeg thinks that it might be best if launcher and ammunition brands were disjoint. For one, this would make sure that no confusion can occur when a bow of frost and arrows of fire meet. And secondly, it would give way to allow for some more launcher/skill differentiation. b0rsuk agrees.

Differentiation of launchers

I am posting a full comment by anym from 2778908:

Introduction: Ranged combat skills probably shouldn't cross-train with each other at all. Neither should using slings train Throwing. Ammo should never be racial. Not sure if my uses of “small species” below should always include Halflings and Kobolds in addition to Spriggans.

Throwing: Includes dart throwing. Unique in that it doesn't require having or wielding a launcher and in having a wide variety of missiles, although not so much on brands. Throwing javelins or melee weapons involves the weapon skill (polearms for javelins) in addition to Throwing. Elves can be good at Throwing darts and daggers, but not so much at throwing axes, where orcs excel. Hammers should replace clubs as the thrown weapon from Maces & Flails category. Weapon brands (venom, flaming) should work on thrown weapons as they do in melee, with the downside that they're mutually exclusive with returning which is probably the most useful brand for throwing. Thrown weapons should also retain their damage type, i.e. thrown axes should decapitate hydrae. Darts, large rocks, stones and throwing nets just use Throwing skill. Stones, rocks and nets don't get any brands, other than their instrinsics (all stones are corrosion-resistant, all rocks are of impact, all nets are entangling). Current size restrictions for rocks and nets are OK. Not sure what to do about javelins and darts. As stackable, non-melee weapons, I'm not sure if javelins should get returning. Poison's probably OK, but that's about it. I'm even less sure what to do about darts, especially as I also suggest to give blowguns a skill of their own and to remove hand crossbows below. Maybe also limit them to poison and greatly cut down on their generation. The damage curve for Throwing (with the possible exception of large rocks) should probably be lower than for other ranged combat skills.

Slings (stones): Only skill with a purely damage enhancing “brand” (sling bullets). Few other brands: silver, maybe impact. Range, damage and accuracy depend on Dex and skill. Firing speed is constant. Very common ammo and launcher (ammo could probably be a bit more common later on, otherwise OK). Can be used with a buckler by small species, shields by normal species and large shields by large species. Not sure about penalties, if any. Good for characters that use a shield and high Dex characters. Good against jellies, undead, demons and shapeshifters, not as good against creatures with elemental vulnerabilities.

Bows (arrows): Only skill with a launcher upgrade from bow to longbow (see also crossbows below). Bows (or maybe shortbows) can be used by everyone and can be used with a buckler (except by small species) with an accuracy penalty (which is really bad early on, but becomes bearable at higher levels or might be mitigated with high Dex or even the Portalled Projectile spell). Longbows can't be used by small species and can't be used with any type of shield. Both give an AC (or maybe EV) penalty against melee attacks when wielded, the longbow probably more. Possible brands: fire (common), poison, dispersal, shadow, smoke, maybe silver. Range and damage depend on Str and skill, accuracy and firing speed depend on Dex and skill. Very common ammo, common launcher (current generation seems OK early on, ammo and longbows could be more common later). Good for characters that can use bucklers, good for characters with balanced stats and good for characters that look for some special effects in addition to damage. Launchers (but not ammo) can be orcish or elvish. Also unique in that launcher and ammo can be turned into snakes.

Crossbows (bolts): Only governs crossbows/bolts, hand crossbows to be removed. All (or at least all unbranded) bolts default to thrust/penetration, unique brand for bolts. Few other brands: ice, impact, maybe silver. Bolts of ice should be rarer than arrows of flame. Note that limiting bolts to ice might also make rC+ (which currently seems a bit weaker than rF+) more useful in the Vaults. Bolts always travel full range. Damage depends on skill, but with a fixed large base amount, accuracy on skill (and maybe Dex), firing (reloading) speed depends on skill and greatly on Str. At high levels, bow damage and range should be comparable to crossbow damage and crossbow speed should be comparable to bow speed. At low levels, crossbows should do about twice as much damage than bows, but fire about twice as slow. Common ammo, somewhat rare launcher (current ammo generation is OK, launchers should be a bit more common early on). Can't be used with any type of shield. EV penalty against melee attacks. Str is essential (heavy launcher, heavy ammo, firing speed greatly dependent on Str), Dex is useful for accuracy, but somewhat negligible. Good for strong characters, heavily armoured characters, two-handed weapon wielding characters and characters looking mostly for raw damage. Launchers (but not ammo) can be orcish or dwarven. Maybe can't be used by small species.

Why do you propose to make high skill remove differences between bow and crossbow ? Here's my take: crossbows are a lot more powerful per shot, but always take a lot of time to reload (Str plays big role in this). However, the act of shooting is actually very fast, all you need is to pull the trigger. Reloading is a separate action, could be activated with v (evoke). This would make bows and crossbows *tactically* different. Bows would be hands down better in frontal combat, when you want to deal maximum damage per unit of time. Crossbows would be better for taking an occasional strong shot here and there, often coming from around a corner. I think it would be ok do disallow carrying multiple loaded crossbow. To do this in an elegant way, a crossbow becomes unloaded as soon as you unwield it or put it down. — b0rsuk 2010-01-11 21:47
I have sympathy for making crossbows slow by design, via some reloading mechanic. Last time this was discussed, we focused on an implicit reloading, which takes place whenever you do something apart from shooting. This turned out to be problematic. So why not use manual reloading, as you propose? However, I don't think we need the v key for this. f would do: it the crossbow is loaded, fire the bolt; if not, load one. The solution about automatic unloading upon unwielding/dropping is a good one. — dpeg 2010-01-12 18:42
This would be only slightly different from simply giving them a slower attack speed, at the cost of significant interface annoyance. I fail to see the advantage of making the player hit 'f' twice to fire, vs. hitting it once and just using the appropriate amount of game-time for shooting and reloading. — lemuel 2010-01-13 04:37
If one shot was worth a couple bow shots, you'd probably see the difference. In real world crossbows were like that - according to wikipedia, a skilled crossbowman could fire two bolts per minute, while skilled bowman could manage 12 or something. If power ratio was 1 bolt = several arrows, this would be significantly less interface fuss than bows. And no, it's not pressing 'f' twice to fire. Just once, unless you want to spend a couple of turns being attacked. Actually the point is to make reloading require thought. And don't forget there would be less ammo to pick up afterwards; more convenient, especially if sharp ammo is added to target's inventory like I proposed elsewhere. — b0rsuk 2010-01-13 05:55
One way of making Slings useful would be to enable them to use some of Throwing missiles (see jar/jug ammo above). Many of the proposed missiles are dangerous to the user so you'd want to be able to fire them from far away. I think short range should be one of main distinguisher of throwing versus launchers. b0rsuk

Blowguns (needles): Replaces Darts skill. No unbranded ammo, defaults to poison. No direct damage, only damage over time (poison), no other elemental damage. Unique enchantment-like brands (curare, sleep, maybe shadow). High skill (and maybe Dex) required for successful use of brands other than poison. Somewhat rare ammo, somewhat rare launcher (current distribution seems OK). Needles always travel full range or range may be slightly dependant on skill, but with a fixed large base amount. Constantly silent and quick (or normal) to fire. Can be used with a shield without (?) drawbacks. Do shields give stealth penalties? If they do, that might be enough. Good for stabbers, good against animals, humanoids and poison-susceptible demons, useless against everything else. Good for high Dex characters (better accuracy, maybe better chance for brands to take effect), no benefits for Str characters (ammo and launcher don't weigh much, no damage bonus). Can be used while entangled in a net. Maybe can be fired together with a breath weapon (increased accuracy, combined effect, i.e. poison flame). Maybe can't be used by (non-breathing) Mummies.

Summary: Throwing is for casters or melee character that just want something to soften up or finishing off enemies, characters that like to use nets for stabbing or escaping and characters that want to do massive damage with large rocks. Slings are for characters that want a ranged weapon they can use with a shield or that want to get the most out of their high Dex and that don't care about effects other than damage to various types of creatures. Bows are a bit of everything: They do good damage, allow some use of bucklers, have a wide variety of brands, including the very common fire and don't largely depend on a single stat. Crossbows do the most damage (apart from large rocks) and can penetrate and knock back enemies, but little else. They require the use of two hands and great strength to be effective. Blowguns are something of a mixed bag: They don't do general damage, but they work well with shield, have poison readily available and have unique brands that help with stabbing.

Missile type differentiation

For comparison, here are the numbers (item / base damage / mass):

needle          0       1
stone           4       2 
dart            5       3
arrow           7       5
bolt            9       5
large rock     20     400
sling bullet    6       4
javelin        10      80
throwing net    0      30

First, why are arrows heavier than stones? Even darts are heavier than stones? dpeg suggests to give stones a weight of 6 or so.

Next, range, damage etc. should depend meaningfully on missile weight, skill and stats. Some examples:

  • For large rocks, Strength matters a lot, both for range and for damage.
  • But Strength should have no effect when throwing stones.
  • Strength should help a lot for bows (including weapon speed) but not for crossbows.

An idea by anym from 2778908 is to have throwing items use two skills: Throwing and that of the item (use Polearms for javelins). Stones and large rocks would be pure (only Throwing).

Needles and Darts

Needles allow ranged stabbing

Basic idea by abraham: a needle hitting an unconscious monster has a chance (depends on Stabbing?) to increase the needle's effect.

eronarn: I really like this one a lot — particularly if some of the brands have much weaker effects when they're used in a non-stabbing way. What if: both needles and darts come with the same new-poisonous brands, but darts somewhat rarely, and needles always? Darts are noisier and can't be used to stab. Then base effectiveness of poison on damage dealt, with needles using a virtual stab-damage calculation.

doy: I like this too. One of the main reasons I've been so insistent on keeping needles is that I want to buff non-magic-using assassin type builds a bit… That's an area that has been pretty consistently weak, but has a good deal of promise as an interesting playstyle, in my opinion.

b0rsuk: Another implementation of the same idea: darts/needles used on sleeping monsters put them into wandering mode rather than pursuit. This would enable player to lure a lone monster away from the pack, and would work very well with poison.

Needle effects depend more on skill

From 2901420.

sorear: If any cool new needle brands go in, blowguns should probably be made to depend more on skill. A lot of late game enemies have very low AC and EV, which is fine, but currently any hit with a needle is a good one; probably needles should be made to have a check-off between player Darts and monster HD.

lemuel: New effects should definitely depend on skill. I suggest checking twice, once against d(skill) > d(7) and once d(skill) > d(15). This means that a skill of 4, you get the special effect about half the time, but as your skill rises, you potentially get the effect twice (which only matters for stackable effects, obviously.)

New cool needle effects are in; no idea if the implementation includes the above. — evktalo 2010-03-17 23:10

Throwing mechanics

Note: someone familiar with the subject go over and clean up this section - I moved it here from Ranged Combat overhaul, 0.6 target. — evktalo 2010-03-18 18:20

Discussion on IRC (sorear, Eronarn, doy, gunofdis) has produced the following plan:

  • Every item has a base delay, a base to-hit, a base damage, a strength to-hit bonus, and a basic range
  • Delay = base delay, possibly modified by body size/handedness; no stat influence; modified by skill exactly like a weapon
  • To-hit = base to-hit + perstr*strngth + X*dexterity + W*throw; X is around 0.5 or 1
  • Damage = base damage * (100% + Y*strength) * term for skill; Y is around 10%
  • Range = base range + Z*str; Z is around 0.2
  • Optional: Strength to-hit modifier and range are derived from item mass

This will be experimentally implemented and the numbers will be played with to get relative balance. It may be extended to launched ranged combat if successful.

Thoughts from — eronarn 2010-01-02 08:27
Blowguns, and possibly dart, str/dex utilization could work like so:
Needles do damage which is increased by Str but always quite low. First, worn armor is checked. Dex and skill both provide a chance to bypass it, multiplicatively. If it's hit, the impact makes noise at some chance based on strength and projectile weight, and damage is decreased appropriately. Any leftover damage (usually none through armor, but e.g., large races might be able to get through leather, or damage-enchanted blowguns could be used) reaches the monster's “racial” AC. For most “fleshy” monsters this is reduced dramatically and then applied to protect against the needle's damage - thick skin doesn't help against blowguns much. Obviously, this doesn't apply to monsters like iron trolls. If 1 or more damage make it through, the poisoning effect applies. This poisoning effect should be skill-dependent (delivering the poison to a useful location such as the neck), but default to the no-skill effect if the Dex*Skill-boosted check wasn't able to bypass armor (the projectile was poorly placed).
Note that Stabbing skill for blowguns could consist of adding your skill in Stabbing to your skill in Throwing for delivering poisoning effect. Or averaged in, or they could have weightings, etc.
This outcome check would be distilled into four simple messages: “The blowgun dart clatters off the foo's armor!” “The blowgun dart fails to penetrate the foo's tough hide!” “The blowgun dart pierces the foo!” “The blowgun dart pieces the foo's neck/eye/whatever!”

Some comments on this by dpeg:

  • The system seems okay. I will not go into the numbers right now, but rather describe some effects I'd like to see come out from the mechanics.
  • Throwing large rocks should be noticeably slower than throwing stones (for example). (Ideally also as slow for monsters.)
  • Needles should never do direct damage on impact.
  • Range should never go beyond LOS. That means 8 — I know about the diagonal abuse but we won't address that now.
  • I agree that Strength should influence range and speed (i.e. damage) for heavy thrown items. I am thinking of a Str 6 Ogre/Troll only reaching 3 squares or something.
  • Strength should have probably no (or very little) impact on range for stones. But it should have an effect on damage for stones.
  • To-hit should be affected by Dexterity, but inversely proportional to item mass: Dex wouldn't matter for large rocks, would matter a little for javelins, and a lot for darts and most for needles.
  • For Needles, we should make clear how Dex vs skill works. Here's one idea: Dex affects to-hit (strongly), skill doesn't. On the other hand, skill (alone) affects chance for the needles's brand to apply, and if so, how long.
  • Bolt damage and range should explicitly not depend on Str or Dex. To-hit should depend on Dex. Base delay for bolts should be slower than for arrows and be mitigated by skill and Str, perhaps using a term skill*Str? (I know that the above formula only deals with throwables; just saying.)
Are you sure you want to use Dex and Str in this way for crossbows? Seems to me there should clearly be one stat that is most important for a given launcher – otherwise the mechanics feel muddy. With the system proposed here, when someone asks “I'm a dedicated crossbow-user; should I raise Dex or Str,” the answer is going to either depend on some fiddly calculations, or else be that it doesn't matter. Neither of which seems desirable. Since the Crossbow-Str link seems more natural, I recommend using the speed-Str link as here (tho added to skill rather than multiplied) and making accuracy depend almost entirely on skill, with Dex playing at most a minor role. — lemuel 2010-01-08 17:48
I would like to see a preferred_min_range affect various factors. Slings, bows and crossbows can be used once up close, after that, you're gonna have trouble drawing the tension without getting knocked over/killed. Small stones are easy to aim at close ranges, but a large stone is like throwing a shot put or the celtic stone toss .. you need a bit of room to aim. Its also pretty hard to throw a dart or javelin at close range because it has to land tip-first. — blue_anna 2010-09-19 23:43
I like the idea in principle (although dpeg doesn't). The way I would implement it would be to give “distracted” status to player if he's attacked in melee. Having this status would strongly reduce ranged accuracy. The status would disappear after one or two turns. To make things interesting some (simpler) ranged weapons might be less affected, like throwing. — b0rsuk 2010-09-30 10:53
Hey, it is not just me. The point is that you want to introduce a handicap on ranged combat for realism purposes, thereby not improving gameplay, but making it worse. I cannot see what should be good about this. Admittedly, you could use this to distinguish RC types, but the drawbacks are too big, in my opinion. — dpeg 2010-09-30 12:03
Actually I would also like a handicap for spellcasting in melee. I just can't imagine someone being bashed with a club and responding with a bow. For me it's very immersion breaking and reduces the enjoyment. Right now the only reasons for not shooting a bow in melee are ammo usage and damage output (a.k.a. Blizzard Balancing). I would like characters to learn another fighting skill for close combat, use something else, even summoning, wands or rods. It hurts my eyes to see archers shoot bows in melee, just because it's the only weapon skill they have. I'm getting off-topic, but I'm about to propose a spell success penalty for being sick. Right now sickness is too mild for my taste, even dark red one doesn't really do anything unless you're pure melee and in a dangerous situation. With such a penalty spellcasters would have a reason to carry wands and rods around. At least in theory, because even with high skill wands don't scratch endgame monsters.

We were talking about melee weapon skills having diffent niches and uses. I wouldn't like ranged weapons to be merely a superset of melee weapons, just with ammo. — b0rsuk 2010-09-30 16:12
A casting penalty for sickness just sounds like adding complexity for complexity's sake, though; all this'll do is make casters rest whenever they're sick and be more careful about disabling komodo dragons. — [user:dtsund]] 2010-09-30 17:57
Does that necessarily make gameplay worse, though? It's always seemed a little strange to me that prior to ~10 weapon skill or so, it's beneficial for my fighters to keep a sling+bullets equipped (even at 0 slings skill, mind you) when that ogre gets into melee, assuming no branded hand axe, because it's more accurate, faster, and does more damage, even in melee. Maybe minimum ranges aren't the answer, but doesn't it seem like it shouldn't be that way, especially considering the very common nature of slings and sling bullets? — danei 2010-09-30 15:23
I agree with this, it'd be expected for ranged weapons to have some penalty (I'd suggest delay) with adjacent monsters, perhaps tied to actually taking damage. As Danei points out, this has little to do with realism, but with having ranged weapons be best at range and melee at melee, which seems like a natural goal - it'd be good if positioning was more important. I'd keep this distinct from magic, though, the two are rather different. — og17 2010-09-30 18:00
Could you please stop the propaganda. It is an argument from realism. And you fail to explain the gameplay benefit from making the distinction. Melee should provide more damage. What danei points out is that something's probably wrong with damage per skill (for slings). Construing this into an argument for minimal ranges is the wrong repair for a real problem. Leaving spellcasting with the ability to work at melee range is particularly hypocritical. Where's the distinction between melee and magic?
I guess this topic will end up on the wont_do page. — dpeg 2010-09-30 18:22
removedb0rsuk 2010-09-30 20:27
Let's at least try to be civil here. — doy 2010-09-30 20:57
Yeah, I don't really care one way or the other about minimum ranges. I don't think they would add much of anything meaningful to gameplay because ranged characters are already strongly encouraged to stay at range if possible. I'm just interested in seeing melee weapons be better for melee combat than ranged weapons if my skills in melee are higher. That might or might not be best achieved with melee penalties for ranged weapons, but it should probably be a goal. — danei 2010-09-30 19:32
  • Returning to the formulas:
    • For Range, we could also use a system that penalises low Str (depending on item mass), e.g.
      range = min(3, base - mass/(15*Str))
    • damage = base * (1 + sqrt(mass)*Str/20/60) * f(skill)
      This means double damage with large rocks at Str 60. It means +10% for javelins with Str 20. And no noticeable effect for the other throwables (in contrast to what I said above for stones, but that's because stones are too light, see below.)
    • I don't like the given to-hit formula as it stands. What about this:
      to-hit = base * (1 + Dex/sqrt(mass)/30) * f(skill)
      This would leave large rock to-hit essentially independent of Dex; javelins would get +12% at Dex 30; the light items would profit a lot from high Dex (up to +100% for needles at Dex 30).

More ammo brands

  • Sickness This brand would only appear on piercing ammo. It would deal no extra damage, but prevent a monster from healing for x number of turns, including regeneration. Ideally, vulnerability would be evaluated and assigned on its own basis, but for a starting point, checking poison resistance would be sufficient.
  • Barbed For arrows and darts only, has a 100% mulch rate, but damages the monster twice. Once when it goes in, and a second time several turns later — happening quicker for faster monsters. It would happen the next turn for speed 15-12 monsters, two turns later for speed 11-8 monsters, and four turns later for anything slower. lordsloth thinks this is more interesting than frost/fire ammo, which he'd be happy to see go.
  • Crystal Immune to corrosion and resistant to enchantment (can only go to +3 max, +1 is effortless, +2 is equivalent of trying to get +5 on a

weapon, and +3 is equivalent to trying to get +8). Does not ever mulch, does not get eaten by jellies.

  • Non-mulching ammo is not good - especially when/if the ammo pluses only affect mulching. — evktalo 2010-03-21 12:57
  • Petrification Like the spell, but for sling bullets.
  • Miasma/Smoke/Shrapnel bullets These would either leave a trail of miasma along the bullet's path similar to a death drakes breath, or explode upon impact doing no additional damage but leaving smoke such as you'd find near lava in a several tile radius, or explode doing some minor damage to adjacent monsters (shrapnel).
  • Disenchant Deals damage like a regular arrow (?), but at the same time removes one enchantment per hit. A spell that simply disenchants wouldn't be popular because it wouldn't escape the “Abjuration Syndrome”. I define “Abjuration Syndrome” as a situation where you fight each other (back and forth) to see who gets the last word with nothing but luck to affect the outcome. Because most missiles deal damage by definition, this problem is avoided. Finally, conjurers would have something to envy and a reason to learn ranged weapons. This missile would be effective against targets with Haste, Might, Teleport Self(cancels “unstable” status), and even Invisibility if you're lucky. It should also kill illusions in 1 hit. Against player it's much more dangerous, especially if it gets through and cancels Repel or Deflect. It would be intriguing if the arrow could turn off transformations too. — b0rsuk 2010-09-10 06:52

eronarn: I propose that material “brands” (silver, steel) simply be an attribute like elven etc. This could lead to “sling bullets” being a cosmetically renamed “steel stone”. This lets sling bullets be thrown in exactly the same way as stones, which more accurate represents reality.

kilobyte: Uhm, sling bullets are made of lead, not steel.
evktalo: I'm not a fan of this idea, I think there are enough layers in there already. We already have decided to not combine brands (à la flaming poison), doing this would be going to two directions at the same time. (edit: we could also just call silver arrows arrows of order and steel bolts bolts of robustness)

borsuk: I propose to introduce new type of ammo: clay jar (grenades). They would be rare and come in small quantities. They could be thrown, or fired farther and much safer by a sling. Replaces exploding bullets. Jar types may include:

  • flask of oil (mass sticky flame or regular explosion)
  • gas (Poisonous Cloud — expands very far in corridors, dangerous to use without a sling)
  • acid (very damaging, often destroys doors, statues, idols, but can also destroy loot and corpses)
  • shrapnel (fires strong missiles fanning out in semi-random fashion from the center — not strict radius, but targets further would naturally be less likely to hit; you'd want a sling to use it)
  • smoke bomb (act like scroll of fog, could start out Th with a couple, perhaps also As-but they do get blowguns):porkchop
  • jug of snakes Contains trapped, perhaps magically preserved snakes. When shattered by impact, releases a couple of angry snakes which attack anything that's not a snake. You may want to read this page: Behavior and AI Proposals b0rsuk

It would hopefully give slings a niche, because they're naturally good at throwing heavy missiles. Throwing/Sling skill would ensure that the jar actually explodes instead of hitting the ground harmlessly (and remaining to be picked up)

dpeg: Note that slings are very much on the way to having a viable niche. (This does not say that the idea is bad.)

Split throwing and blowgun skills

Throwing and blowguns should be divided into two skills again, as they have nothing in common thematically or in play. A TrHu that flings boulders all game and gains an incidental mastery of blowguns demonstrates just how artificial this synergy is, and a needle stabber is likewise very unlikely to have any natural desire to take up throwing weapons. Throwing and blowguns may have been niche skills that were uncommonly raised, but combining the two doesn't address any problems there, and needles are much more interesting now regardless.

Eronarn favors replacing blowguns with needle-shooting hand crossbows and using that skill, but I'd think that's just trading one arbitrary pairing for another - needles and bolts are unrelated in use, and there's no reason that a crossbow-focused ranged attacker should get free needle effects (or vice versa), especially when you consider the effects on the less fortunate ranged weapon options. — og17 2010-11-03 00:14

Other ideas

  • Large rocks mulching not just into a pile of stones (as now), but also “splashing”, i.e. falling on the central square and adjacent squares. This is not just a gimmick: in console, the glyphs for stones and large rocks look the same. While there is a message when a large rock mulches, it will be good to support that with a visual effect.
  • Random needle traps: In addition to traps made of poisonous needles, have them for other types, too. Quantities should be very low (think 2-4), and allowed depth depends on type. It could be strategically interesting to lure a monster through a curare trap. (Might need AI changes.)
  • Some ammunition types would stick into target (literally making a pin cushion out of a monster!). This would happen mostly to piercing ammunition, like arrows, bolts, needles, javelins, spears, axes (less). Simply add the ammunition into monster's inventory, to be retrieved when monster dies. Additional requirement: the shot would have to deal significant damage to stick into target (needles are a special case). Thrown clubs, rocks, stones, sling bullets would work as they do now. I think this change would add a bit of flavour and make weapons more distinct. It would also make ammo retrieval easier in an elegant way. — b0rsuk 2010-01-01 20:29
  • Ranged combat could allow to target monsters in a crowd (i.e. behind other monsters), using . aiming. Chance of success would depend on the relevant skill. This would distinguish ranged combat more from spells.
  • Does throwing a spear of venom potentially poison the target? It should.
  • Somewhat unpopular idea, but I think characters should get big to-hit penalty as soon as they're attacked in melee. Shooting a bow in melee because you don't want to train a backup skill ? Very immersion breaking, and not fun for me. — b0rsuk 2010-01-11 21:59
    • I don't agree. It's been settled that gameplay and interface are more important than realism at this point. Also, there are reasons to train proper melee: conversing ammunition, better damage output, more HP.
  • It would be interesting if bows became less effective with very heavy armour, depending on skill. (The 4 skill that Hunters start with would be enough to at least support wearing ring mail.) This would differentiate them from other launchers. Of course, this effect would be more pronounced with longbows. — nrook 2010-01-18 21:38 Yes. The way to implement this would be to apply the EVP to missile attacks as well as melee attacks. (Could apply to all, or all for bows, half for slings/blowguns./thrown weapons, and none for crossbows.) More applications of the EVP also has the advantages of enlarging the niche for medium armors, and making Strength especially important for armored archers. Adding a separate armor-penalty mechanic just for bows seems like a bad idea, however. — lemuel 2010-01-19 17:56
    • Lemuel's suggestion is currently an “official component” of the AC nerf proposal. Not sure how far along we are with coding it, though. — drpraetor 2010-01-20 02:53

Allow Large Races to throw corpses (and other heavy items)

I propose that large races (Ogres, Trolls, and perhaps, to a lesser extent, Draconians) be allowed to more effectively throw large objects… and more specifically, corpses. The justification that this should be allowed at all is that:

  • They currently can throw large rocks, which weigh 50 AUM, with ease
    • large rocks weight 60 aum. — galehar 2010-10-25 09:59
  • It would be small boost to the otherwise underpowered large races by opening up more strategic variety
  • and it would give some reason for these large races to further increase strength, which they currently have in abundance but don't see much benefit from.

There already exist some mechanics for throwing corpses. Currently, (letting Corpse AUM = CAUM, although I think this formula holds for any thrown object of a given AUM), for all races:

  • For CAUM-3⇐STR, you can't throw the corpse
  • For CAUM>=STR>=CAUM-2, you can throw the corpse up to 2 spaces
  • For CAUM+5>=STR>=CAUM+1, you can throw the corpse up to 4 spaces
  • For STR>=CAUM+6, you can throw the corpse up to 8 spaces

I say “up to” because you can use portal projectile to exactly place the corpse, if you want to.

The bad news is that its mostly impossible to throw a corpse for practical purposes because very few enemies have a corpse AUM of 20 or less (Giant bats, newts, killer bees, mosquitoes and blowflys, snakes, etc.), and even fewer with corpse weights within the 20-39 range. Goblins have a CAUM of 40, and orcs have a CAUM of 60. (many things are in the 60ish range, actually). I think that given the current formula, Str should be multiplied by about 3 for the purposes of throwing objects for large races, so that a Str of 21 could let you throw an orc corpse up to 4 spaces. For normal-sized races, the multiplier should be 2, so that a human with a freakishly large Str of 31 could throw an orc.

Now finally, the question is: why would you WANT to throw a corpse? I'll give 3 fantastic and fabulous reasons:

  • Try picturing yourself as a monstrous Jolly Green Giant, an insane terror of the dungeon (your brain infested with spores and vines and all that other good planty stuff) that's divinely driven to rip the Sacred Flesh from the bones of the nonbelievers to build a vessel and platform of your God's “Good Word.” Just as Howard Beale was chosen to spread the corporate cosmology of Arthur Jensen in Network, the best evangelist is one who can bring his message directly to the people! The main use that I see for throwing corpses is for larger Fedhas followers to use with corpse explosion, AKA reproduction. Toss a corpse behind a big group of enemies as a “seed” and then proceed to use the subsequent corpses created by the explosion (or by evolving the produced ballistos) to help take out the rest.
  • A similar use, although markedly less dramatic and markedly harder to use given the smaller effect radius, is to combine a thrown corpse with the lvl 2 Necromancy spell Corpse Rot. Portal Projectile would be a must here.
  • Creating undead far away from you. It's as if your Ogre Death Knight worked shipping for Dungeon Crawl Postal Service: “Neither Rain, Nor Heat, Nor Gloom of Night / Shall Keep my Zombies from a Fight!”
  • If some changes with evocable items go through, in that there could be large, single-use effects, then this feature request might couple nicely with that.

So what do y'all think? Best Feature Request of the year? Or best Feature Request of all time?

I just wanted to chime in that I support this idea 100% and will quit Crawl forever if its not implemented. — coolio 2010-10-25 00:32
Thanks for the support! — germanjoey 2010-10-25 01:00
The idea is cute, but not really urgent. (So could become an Implementable if looked at.) Note that large species already have a huge ranged combat related perk: they can throw large rocks. — dpeg 2010-10-25 12:56
Any chance we could test this out? Implementing a test version would be as simple, I think, as inserting the lines

if (you.can_throw_large_rocks()) {

  range     += random_range(4, 7);
  max_range += 7;


in between 2357 and 2358 in item_use.cc. This would probably need to be nerfed a bit to account for the corpse weight, but this would be a way to test out the idea. germanjoey 2010-10-25 13:49
anyone still interested in this? bueller?

As a person who tried to use throwing/Corpse rot, and also tried throwing crystal balls, I obviously like the idea. — b0rsuk 2010-10-25 18:21

I quite like the idea. Inserting the code worked, but holy crap that's one hell of a function, I'm too frightened to mess around with it. — evktalo 2010-12-07 14:51
I've looked at that code in detail before; I could help you figure it out if you'd like! My email address is jfr7p -atat- virginia -dotdot- edu, if you're interested. germanjoey

Casmith789's ranged combat proposal


Playing with ranged combat a bit, it feels worse to play than use of magic or pure melee. I have realised there are a few issues with it and will summarise them, followed by my proposal to fix each.

(this ranged combat proposal is done with slings, but applies to each of bows, crossbows and blowguns. Javelins could maybe follow this as well)

Problem 1) If you play a gifting god, okawaru or trog, or even if you aren't; you will get gifted / find several different types of sling bullet. Some +4 poisoned, some +3 poisoned, some +3 exploding. You may have something like this:

  • c - 100 +0 sling bullets
  • d - 8 +4 poisoned sling bullets {god gift}
  • e - 6 silver +6 sling bullets {god gift}
  • f - 6 steel +5 sling bullets (quivered) {god gift}
  • g - 27 runed sling bullets


If I were playing a direct damage dealing magic user, this would use up no slots and no weight to cast each of my different spells (poison arrow, dispel undead, fireball, etc.)

Problem 2) If you want to fire at an enemy or many enemies the interface for changing ammunition is bad.

Example: I am fighting an orc warrior at low level. I want to fire a couple of poisoned sling bullets and then switch to my more damaging +3 unbranded bullets.

How it works at the moment; I quiver the poisoned sling bullets using ( and ). I fire using f. Then, I change ammunition by cycling through until I reach my new ammunition, and fire again.

How spells work: I use Z then another letter to depict the choice of spell. I can use ? to view my list before firing.

My proposal

My proposal is to make ranged combat very similar to spell use. It comes in two parts. The first is to combat the first issue, the one of slots. Instead of having 20 different slots of ammunition, if you get multiple ammunition it instead goes into a single item called “assorted sling bullets”. On the main screen it shows the sling bullet currently quivered. If you are using bows and slings, you have two items called “assorted arrows” and “assorted sling bullets”.

There can be a cap set on each entry (arbitrarily I think 1000 would be a good number) or no cap.

  • a - a bow
  • b - a sling
  • c - a blowgun
  • d - 249 assorted sling bullets
  • e - 901 assorted arrows
  • f - 103 poisoned needles

(there are only one kind of needles in my backpack)

This solves the issue of managing slots, because you don't have to do a large amount of slot fiddling just because you have several different +s on your ammunition.

The second part is to make the firing of bullets the same as with spells. If I use f to fire a bullet, I want it to automatically choose the last fired as Z does, but I also want to see a list of what I can fire with ?.

  • Fire what?
  • a - +3 poisoned sling bullet (22 remaining)
  • b - +2 poisoned sling bullet (12 remaining)
  • c - +7 silver sling bullet (3 remaining)
  • d - runed sling bullet {god gift} (29 remaining)
  • e - stone (821 remaining)

Ideally, you should be able to adjust the letters of these using =.

An additional good separate feature would be the ability to group all bullets of the same ego (poisoned etc.) regardless of enchantment using a command so that new bullets will automatically go into the same slot after the first set are exhausted, should you so desire; this is additional to my core proposal and I have not yet figured out the interface.

With these two measures you maintain the sensible drawback of ammunition (weight) and remove the drawback that made less sense (2 unstacked sling bullets take 2 slots, whereas 800 +0 sling bullets take one slot) and make ranged combat a more viable and fun choice to play with.

casmith789 2011-03-27 05:23

I like this. There's been a lot of work to improve ranged combat interface, but juggling slots is still an unfun bit. It could be thought that having to manage inventory slots would be an important drawback for ranged weapon users, and I'm firmly against the idea that the inventory should make sense ;) but this sounds like an overall improvement. It would also make it easier to pick up a ranged weapon as a side arm.

How would the interface work regards dropping some ammo? Choosing the ammo slot would open up a submenu? — evktalo 2011-03-27 10:11
That was my initial plan, yes. It would open up a menu like the I screen, similar to what you got when firing with f and from there you could drop things. I appreciate this isn't ideal but it seems to cover the main problems. — casmith789 2011-03-27 10:48
Love it. I'd just make these two suggestions:
1) I think that the “Assorted” slot should be named something like “d - Pouch (249 bullets); e - Quiver (901 arrows)” - or maybe Sling Ammo, Bow Ammo instead of Pouch/Quiver. This helps it to stand out from the non-stacked items. Possibly even make this a different color, so it's obvious that it's a container sort of mechanic.
2) I think we could stand to get rid of ammo enchantment. The way this works is unintuitive (wield it and then read enchant weapon scrolls) and unnecessarily scummy (you want to wait until you have hundreds of projectiles to read any scrolls). Perhaps we can do with just material tiers instead - something like “stone”, “lead sling bullet”, “steel sling bullet”. Of course, the high-tier ones should break less!
No ammo enchantment means the idea of “pouch”/“assorted” is mostly redundant, and just introduces confusion by making ammunition work differently from all other consumables. I'd say it would be enough by itself. And it's the option I like the most. We'd have to adjust the damage formulas, of course, so it's non-trivial, but since ranged combat is kind of broken anyway, at least we don't have non-brokenness to preserve. — kilobyte 2011-03-27 20:54

There is still an advantage to taking a god to receive ammo if this happens, of course, because they will preferentially give the higher-tier ammos.
Less enchantment levels also means we can add more ranged brands without making stacking unworkable.

Ranged overhaul for .11

nfogravity 2012-03-02 15:35

I was looking at the results of the survey this morning, and it struck me how few people want to play a ranged class. This isn't surprising to me, given how ranged combat works right now. I spent a while talking with Eronarn this afternoon, and we had a bunch of ideas:

  • We should implement most of casmith's ideas above. In particular, ammo enchantment needs to go.
  • This might be controversial, but I think there should be a complete split between melee and ranged weapons. Having to inscribe daggers is confusing to new players, and throwing spears dilutes the flavour of ranged combat.
    • Uhm no, throwing is a ranged form that 1. enhances flavour, 2. doesn't suffer the hassle of having to manually swap before use. — KiloByte 2012-03-03 11:39
      • Yeah, that's reasonable. It does, however, suffer the hassle of having to manually swap in your Quiver. — nfogravity 2012-03-04 12:44
  • There should be a clear progression of bows, crossbows, and slings as melee weapons have: short bow → longbow → composite bow, hand crossbow → crossbow → arbalest, and… something for slings (anyone?) Short bows and hand crossbows should be usable with a buckler. A composite bow of speed should be a highly prized item.
    • +1 for light/heavy crossbows (with regular bolts, hand crossbows sucked), two types of bows can be argued to be enough for now (as bows see little use). — KiloByte 2012-03-03 11:39
  • All ammo should mulch on hit. Arrows clutter the dungeon floor and picking them up (assuming you even want them) adds a lot of tedium.
  • Remove all basic ammo. Bows should not need an inventory item called ”+0 arrows” to fire; if no ammo is selected and the player wields a bow, the Quiver should default to something like “arrows.” If the player wields a melee weapon, “stones” works. You pick up a stone, or carry some in a pouch, and throw it. This is not unreasonable, especially if we change the ranged damage formula.
  • There should be a complete split between launcher brand and ammo properties. Specialized ammo should be very scarce and provide effects that do not directly augment the damage done by the attack. Examples: barbed arrows give bleed, leaden bullets add knockback. This should greatly simplify the inventory management demanded of ranged weapon users and add tactical decisions.
    • I don't see any connection between ammo brands and scarcity. Specialized ammo is scare if it's scare, not if it's distinct from launched brands. — KiloByte 2012-03-03 11:39
  • Arcane Marksman should be a Tmut-based class, not Hexes, and play somewhere between Skald and Conjurer. Their spells should temporarily give their ammunition similar secondary effects. Currently, there are only three Transmutations spells above level 5 and all of them augment melee combat, so adding a powerful Tmut spell (like Arrow Storm, that would split an arrow repeatedly as it fires and send the clone off at a slight angle) could keep ranged weapons interesting in the later parts of the game and provide a goal for a magic user who favours ranged weapons.
    • Uhm no, having somewhat different material is not enough for a massive difference in damage. And the less Tmut encroaches the Charms/Hexes space, the better. Stoneskin was moved to Tmut only because Ench was grossly overpowered at the time, Dig was put there while shoehorning Stalkers into Earth/Tmut. I prefer having magic schools have a real distinction, not being mixing and emulating each other. — KiloByte 2012-03-03 11:39
      • Tmut is in a weird spot right now. I didn't know the history of the school and am grateful for the lesson. How would you feel about having spells like these in Hexes, then? Hexes needs some love. (??Hexes) — nfogravity 2012-03-04 12:44
        • Hexes encompass more than one type of spell, but basically it's a combination of debuff spells and illusion/trickery type stuff (invisibility, projected noise, darkness). There are some weird exceptions (sure blade comes to mind) but that's just legacy from the old enchantments split. Anyway, this means that if you want to redesign AM, it would be hard to make hexes that do what you're thinking of. AM is already a hex based class.
I like the sound of all of these. I think a lot of the unpopularity of ranged combat is caused by the limited weapon selection (finding high-tier weapons is fun, and currently Crawl only has longbows for that) and the tedium of ammo management. This proposal fixes all of that.
I have no idea how new slings could be added, though. The (real life) sling is a very primitive weapon, and doesn't really have different types (as far as I know) in the way that bows and crossbows do. — evilmike 2012-03-03 10:22
Slingshot, sling, staff sling(fustibal)? As I understand it, slings are harder to use than slingshots, but can hit a lot harder. — roctavian 2012-03-03 11:30
Staff slings sound like a good idea to me – it'd be a weapon usable both in melee and ranged, ie, requiring no swaps. — KiloByte 2012-03-03 11:39
Love it. — nfogravity 2012-03-04 12:44

Also, since apparently I forgot to say it, I'd be more than happy to try to implement these changes. I don't know if you guys have a protocol for which coders can handle big(gish) changes, and I'm still learning the codebase, but it sounds fun. — nfogravity 2012-03-04 12:48

Let's try to be realistic for 0.11. How about we start with this (some taken form various parts of this page):

  • enchantment only affect munching.
  • missiles of the same type stack together. The breakdown can be seen in the item description, but it has no tactical relevance (since no acc/dam bonus), so you always fire the highest enchantment.
  • Right now, speed is the best launcher brand because it's the only one that can “stack” with missile brands. So, no overlap between launcher and missile brands and they stack. Missiles have a material (including poisoned), launcher have the magical brands. So for example, remove arrows, bolts and bullets of flame/freezing, those ones only come from launcher. What to do with poison weapon? Make it work on the quiver?
  • Isn't the brand damage bonus somewhat broken? I can't remember if it has been finally fixed. Maybe make it similar to melee
  • make code saner
  • simplify the system to make it easier to understand and balance

galehar 2012-03-21 01:35

I don't think there's any factor in the ranged combat reform nearly as important as simplifying the inventory management. Manually gathering individual arrows for every shot ever fired is real-world-player punitive, and I don't think players will be willing to test any changes made until the interface is at least as approachable as the melee or magic systems. A 100% mulch rate for all ammo and arbitrary access to worst-quality ammo is probably the easiest way to get there. If the worst-quality ammo that is infinite is clearly lower-damage than good, common melee weapons, 100% mulch special ammo becomes a strategic resource to manage without rendering the character entirely helpless without it. — KoboldLord 2012-03-21 02:22
I think the multitude of ammo stacks to manage created by the different brands and enchantments is the real annoying thing. Picking up arrows is a single keypress, thanks to autoexplore and autopickup. Picking up can be improved with an alternate autoexplore mode which is just greedy (autoloot, pickup items but don't explore). Having to manage ammunition is what distinguish the playstyle from conjurer. — galehar 2012-03-21 08:20
While it doesn't really make sense as far as realism goes, how about about dropping quivers that slowly recharge instead of fixed amounts of ammo? That puts it closer to using a melee weapon in that once you find it, its yours; but still allows for the combination of different ammo with a launcher. Running out of ammo is the biggest annoyance for me when playing with ranged weapons, but if all I had to do was wait a bit and I would have more ammo that might make it good. — HousePet 2012-03-21 03:54
This simply duplicates the mechanism of conjuration and MP. We want to differentiate the playstyle from conjurer. — galehar 2012-03-21 08:20
Its more like a duplication of using rods, as you would have multiple arrow pools, but you only have one mp pool. Point taken though. — HousePet 2012-03-27 00:49

I have some feedback after trying out quite a few Centaur Hunters. My main complaint about playing a ranged combat background is that it seems that the best way to play is to _not_ use ranged combat. I start out and the first thing that I do is put away my bow and try to find a melee weapon. It seems rather unintuitive. If I do not refrain from using my arrows then by the time I actually need them, my quiver is empty. The inventory management does not bother me as much because when I play a ranged combat character I include “arrow” in my autopickup list. — Tenaya 2012-04-27 01:31

I quite like the reloading/quiver system ToME4 uses. You can still run out of ammo, have interesting ammo, swap ammo and you can use a turn to reload when needed. For the first time I have enjoyed using ranged weapons in a roguelike. To implement a reload in Crawl an evoke option like reaching perhaps? — HousePet 2012-04-29 05:02

Could you explain how it works? Thanks. — galehar 2012-04-30 23:51
Sure: In ToME4 ammo is a quiver with a limited capacity. The item is equipable and egoable like in Crawl, but when it is empty it isn't destroyed. You can't pick up used shots, but you get an ability called Reload. Reload takes a turn and restores a number of shots depending on your skill, but can't exceed the capacity of the quiver. Quivers generally have a capacity of around 6 to 12. Some of the quiver egos are extra capacity, slowly refilling the quiver without using reload, or increasing how many shots are restored by reload. — HousePet 2012-05-04 07:28
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