Brand Proposals

Name dcss:brainstorm:item: new brands
Summary This page is for discussing possible new magic item brands. Mostly weapons and armour, but I guess jewellery is okay as it forms the basis for randarts.
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Added by b0rsuk
Added on 2009-12-31 15:12

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  • a shield containing a vengeful spirit, punishing anyone who strikes the wearer and doesn't pass the MR check. Damage dealt by spirit is as much as force of the attack. Melee attacks only, and only if attack is successfuly blocked.
  • I think it would be best to make Evocations a big factor, to make the skill more useful. For example the chance, before even checking MR, is (Evocations-4)/12.
  • Side effect 1: makes scrolls of Vulnerability potentially interesting to fighters. The shield could certainly demolish groups for draconians, Tiamat etc.
  • Side effect 2: educated players about magic resistance of monsters.
  • Idea inspired by Dominions 3.
I like this idea, but it's too similar to Yred's Pain Mirror or the Reflection shield brand. I think that the damage shouldn't depend on the incoming attack's damage, but on something else. — eronarn 2009-12-31 22:22
You're right, I forgot about the Pain Mirror. So how about a shield that tries to enchant striker with a minor hostile enchantment, like Slow, Corona (actually good against UH if it goes through), Fear ? No confusion, it's too strong. — b0rsuk 2010-01-02 10:53


  • A shield made of soft pine wood. Below average durability (degrades with use), but enemy weapons have a chance to become stuck.
  • Weapons which could become stuck: piercing ones, edged ones (except whips), but not blunt ones. Natural attacks (claws, teeth) could also count. Missiles could also become stuck, unless they're blunt ones (stones, rocks, sling bullets). Nets shouldn't get stuck in a shield, of course !
  • If player has his weapon stuck, Strength determines how easy it is to pull the weapon out. If player disengages, he loses the grip on the weapon's handle and retrieving it becomes much harder (basically, monster has to be killed using another weapon now).
  • Monsters with their weapons/claws stuck become vulnerable as they try to pull the weapon out. They count as distracted. Monsters that start to flee lose their weapons.
  • There should be quite high chance of the shield getting -1 (damaged) when a weapon gets stuck. If the shield is too far below 0, it falls apart. You can think of it as a cross of shield and throwing net.
  • combined with nets, opens an opportunity for Repair skill or a god power, later. A skill/power that's mostly confined to combating jellies wouldn't be fun.

b0rsuk 2009-12-31 15:12

I think that this one is way too complicated, though. — eronarn 2009-12-31 22:22
One simple option would be a “shield of spikiness” that does a set amount of damage non-magically per hit. It would fit with the spike mutation we're looking at adding. Another option would be a “shield of redirection” that is like Reflection, but vs. melee attacks only, and only works if you're adjacent to two or more enemies. (Perhaps the attack must even be “redirected” across a diagonal so you have to be fairly surrounded for it to work.) — eronarn 2010-01-01 22:27
I think Pain Mirror is enough for now, and Jyiva has some kind of acid splash, right ? Redirection of melee attacks sounds too symmetric for me. — b0rsuk 2010-01-02 10:56


A few ideas for armour brands and/or armour randart properties.

of magic

Increases MP regeneration at cost of hunger, similarly to ring of regeneration. Perhaps should cause more hunger than the ring. Unusable by mummies. A good choice for all casters, as long as they don't mind eating a LOT.

Why would it be unusable by mummies? Having all food costs paid is the whole point of mummyness, and it's pretty much their only remaining perk now that we made scumming impossible. Just take a look at rings of regeneration, vampiric weapons, food costs of evocations… Mana regen should be consistent.

of deflection

Acts as a permanent Rmsl (Dmsl would be too strong probably, although it could be a very rare, better version). Does not stack with the spell. Non-casters would love that.

of torment resistance

Reduces damage from torment. 30% reduction might be reasonable. Stacks with rN. Awesome for extended endgame, useless everywhere else.

Torment is in the game for a reason. I don't like being able to switch off threats like that. — dpeg 2010-02-14 11:54
30% (maybe lower if it's too strong?) is not “switching off” threat, just reducing it a bit. And it's not like the player will have it on his best armour. Instead it would give a choice: wear that enchanted GDA to Pan/Hell and take full torment damage, or reduce it by wearing a weaker armour with rTorm but risk taking more of “conventional” damage. — qui 2010-02-15 21:47
That's a problem with GDA, not other armours. Don't feed the power spiral. Torment, Smite, Hellfire are one of few things that can't be turned off with a resistance. Adding torment resistance as a randart property would increase importance of randarts, god gifts, having numerous armour slots even further. — b0rsuk 2010-02-16 06:13
I was more thinking about a randart property avaialble for body armour only, or even a non-randart body armour brand only. Definitely not on cloaks, boots, etc. I believe it could become a viable option without getting overpowered, as opposed to all other non-GDA, non-RoR and non-surprisingly_good_randart armours which are, to put it simply, weak and not interesting in comparison. — qui 2010-02-16 21:33
The “default” armour you have in Hells provides at least rC+ rF+ – or more. GDA has rC+ rF+ rPois and more AC than plate, those “surprisingly good randart armours” are, well, random, but they're better than RoR/GDA since otherwise they wouldn't be chosen. So indeed for a brand to be considered, it needs to be of similar quality.
I agree with qui, torment resistance would be overpowered on most other slots, but as body armour, it would be a decent alternative… And at least for spriggans, I'd still choose RoR over RoTR. — kilobyte 2010-02-17 09:53

of health

Extra hitpoints. Amount could vary for randarts. Could be a static value or a percentage of maxHP.

I believe that the amulet of guardian spirit is a much better way to increase health.

sticky flame immunity

A randart property working in the same way as mottled dragon armour. — qui 2010-02-02 20:14

Or simply let's make mottled dragon armour generate more often than once per year per server. In fact, in my Forest branch idea, the only fixed piece of loot is a randart with fixed appearance (“faerie dragon armour”) with base item being a MDA (ok, ok, if you can call a randart “fixed”).

of blocking

Increases SH proportionally, but does not add to it. Should (also/only?) come on lighter armours, to encourage shields+light armours styles. — dpeg 2010-02-14 11:54


of insulation

Simply gives rElec. It would be nice if there were other sources for rElec than randarts (not counting spells and potions).

Traditionally the lack of a rElec brand has been considered a good thing; this makes it harder to find (and electricity damage is also rarer than fire/cold). — evktalo 2010-12-08 18:39
This is a neat idea, what about making something like this as rare as boots of running? — porkchop 2011-07-31 15:10

of kicking

Gives an auxiliary kick attack. Alternative name: Boots of might – as in Duke's Mighty Boot

Spiked boots?
This might be good, something that you might want to wear sometimes instead of boots of running. — evktalo 2010-12-08 18:39
I'd be wary of adding a yet another strategy that subtly forces you to use unarmed. Promoting that annoying piece of bad realism is bad. Wielding a knife should make you more dangerous than being unarmed — kilobyte 2010-12-09 09:13.

You underestimate the power of Zot Fu. I'm more concerned with unarmed being quite powerful already, especially since there's really no reason to pick up Transmutations (unless you're a troll I guess). — evktalo 2010-12-09 20:39

of stumbling

Cursed brand. Causes occasional effects similar to random movement due to confusion, and additional food consumption (due to tiring effect.)

You'd need to be careful of each step you take, which sounds annoying and tedious. Berserkitis is kind of similar (your situation can change any turn suddenly), if it only triggered in combat/when there are monsters around it might work. Might be better as a bad mutation than an item though.. and there I recall we had a mutation like that briefly, but it got such a bad response it was removed. Linking it to tension might be interesting and also make it less annoying (sort of). — evktalo 2010-12-08 18:39
We already discussed this for a mutation (which is a good thing IMO), and a similar concern was raised – that proposal had you fall (fail the movement) instead of moving aside. Of course, that would be tedious – my solution would be to let the move succeed but take additional 10 or 20 aut while you clamber to your feet. Nasty, but ignorable outside of actual combat situations. It never was a mutation in the past, too. — kilobyte 2010-12-09 09:13

It was (here's the commit), but it never went into a release. What do you think of it not triggering when there's no-one around? — evktalo 2010-12-09 20:39

of flight

i.e. winged boots. Gives flying.

There's boots of levitation already. That you have to wear an amulet of controlled flight to get flight is a good thing. — evktalo 2010-12-08 18:39


I would really like some new egos for gloves. With the exception of archery, they are all boring as hell! (boost Str/Int/Dex, bah) — coolio 2010-08-09 12:24

of boxing

Gives bonus damage to all punches.

of power

Boosts the power of all evocations.

of catching

Gives a chance to catch projectiles fired at you and adds them to the inventory

That would result in inventory clutter quickly and be annoying. They should behave like repel missiles – the projectiles just drop onto the square you are standing on. However, equippable repel missiles would be very powerful, so there should be drawback – for ex. a noticeable casting penalty (you could call them mitts of catching :) ). It wouldd be nice to have a source of rMsl as a non-caster. — coolio 2010-08-10 17:02

of slicing

Changes unarmed to claws

This has been proposed before (sort of), in the form of a fixedart, “knife-blade gloves”. However, it may fall afoul of the 300 years rule. — kilobyte 2010-08-10 17:11


of stunning

When hit with a weapon of stunning, if monster's health drops to 25% or lower, it becomes paralysed for short time (2-5 turns). Appears on maces and staves. No bonus damage. Alternatively, all maces and/or staves could have this as an innate ability to distinguish them from other weapons. — b0rsuk 2010-02-14 13:02

Yup I like the idea of a stun effect, or broadening the brand to be a weapon of paralysis for all weapons (since the chaos brand can paralyse enemies). Stunning itself could simply be, as you said, an innate ability. — studiomk 2010-07-25 00:23

Manavampiric weapons

Like vampiric weapons, but damage dealt with it in melee regenerates your MP instead (for instance 1 MP per every 5 HP of damage; damage carries over from one enemy to the next). This doesn't look like much on first look, but upon closer examination is more interesting than regular vampiric weapons. Vampiric weapons act pretty much as another layer of protection. They're useful against all enemies, because all enemies seek to lower your HP. The're least useful against BIIG monsters, because they can generally outdamage you and extra HP probably won't be of much use. Also, vampiric weapons aren't very good for dodgers who prefer not to get hit at all. Now manavampiric weapons would be wonderful for melee/caster hybrids. Fights would be more tactical. Instead of just pressing a direction key into a monster, you'd pause once in a while and cast a spell. MP gain is orthogonal to winning a fight - that's the interesting part. It wouldn't be particularly effective with most conjurations because their benefit is range. But short-ranged spells and spells which don't depend on range would be very good. Manavampiric weapons would require some thought, their usefulness would be largely context sensitive.
My only concern is that vampiric and manavampiric are a bit too symmetric, so perhaps one of them could be modified, for example to work like Makhleb health for kill. Ah, and the brand name is obviously a placeholder.b0rsuk

I like these, but when I think of a blade that gives you mana for attacking, the first way for it to work that comes to mind is that it's sapping MP from the enemy, not converting HP to MP. Since monsters don't actually have MP, that could mean the weapon “drains the magical energies from the monster” some percent of the time: in practice a short-term silence effect and you get MP if the monster is a spellcaster and not already silenced. Would having both of these effects (HP to MP and silence to MP) on the same weapon be overpowered? If not, it makes the weapon more distinct from vampiric weapons and makes them tempting for even non-MP-users to use. — squashmonster 2010-05-24 04:30
1) “Manavampiric” weapons would only be superficially similar to regular vampiric weapons. Vampiric weapons make you last longer in combat. As long as your HP is high, you don't need to do anything else in melee combat. Manavampiric weapon allows you to perform extra actions where you'd be otherwise unable to. 2) Manavampiric weapons working only against a class of monsters is something I specifically wanted to avoid. There are enough weapons like these: good against X and Y, no effect against Z. And a player carrying a toolbox of such binary weapons. b0rsuk
How about naming the brand “channeling” instead, on the premise that it channels energy from its targets? Instead of a regular brand, it could be a new property for the (currently underpowered) magical channeling staff. Minced


“You feel a vicious bloodlust!”

Monsters in the vicinity (within two spaces, to avoid ring of conflict-level overpoweredness) of a weapon of bloodshed have a 1/3 chance of attacking another monster instead of the player. This weapon is tactically useful when used in open spaces, much like the proposed “cleave” brand but with somewhat less interface trouble.


Feyblood (possible replacement for mutagenic weapons)

The mutagenic property contributes nothing tactically; it simply means the wielder switches to another weapon outside of combat. Here's a different version: a weapon “of Feyblood” that causes glow and mutations in enemies as well as the wielder.

“It oozes with glowing blood!”

“A weapon pulsing with the lifeblood of the Fey, inflicting its wild, unharnessed magics on all it strikes - and to a lesser extent, on all who wield it.”

Causes monsters to glow when hit. Heavily glowing monsters may erupt in a magical storm, or polymorph. The wielder also has a small chance of accumulating glow when striking an enemy.

This re-formulation of a mutagenic weapon does not encourage weapon swapping since glow accumulates when striking monsters. It is of tactical utility against heavily evasive/invisible monsters since glowing monsters are easier to hit. Furthermore, warpers would find a weapon that causes explosions interesting.



“You feel attractive!” (ye gods, somebody think of a better greeting.)

“This weapon exerts an attractive force on its surroundings, magically pulling monsters and weapons closer to the wielder with each blow.”

Nearby enemies/items have a chance of blinking towards the wielder each time the weapon lands a hit, with chance increasing with weapon skill. As such, lodestone weapons cannot pull anything into lava or deep water.

It has interesting applications - for one, fighting enemies near the mouth of a vault (e.g. elf:7) may pull out vault items during combat. Great for use near runes, as long as getting mobbed is an acceptable risk or the wielder fights in a corridor.


Serpent / Snake Slaying

“You feel intense hatred for all things slithery.”

Works like orc / dragon slaying, but for all 'S' and with a reduced effect on all 'N'. Exclusive to staves.

Provide a way for some of the more fragile character builds to deal with the deadliest early game enemies, also useful in the Snake Pit. Should mostly spawn in the early levels and in the lair.

I think it should be combined with Dragon slaying as that brand is currently pointless right now. angrykoopa
And dragon slaying's still more useful than than orc slaying. I wouldn't want to see any more overly-specific slaying brands unless they're weighted so that there's no overall increase in items with the things. Also, why would snake slaying be on staves? Quarterstaffs are already the best early-game weapon, snake or otherwise, and are lajatangs really that common that they need to be wasted by this? — og17 2010-07-22 23:46
Alright, gave it a little thought, and perhaps slaying properties could be changed into weapon perks? Spears could me more effective against centaurs, staves against snakes and ankuses against elephants, for example. — coolio 2010-07-24 23:43

Weapon of Parrying

“Your hands feel dexterous!”

I've been bemused at the fact that parrying/blocking with a weapon isn't implemented so, my suggestion is a brand that implements this. The weapon acts as a shield and requires the shield skill for blocking. The 'shield' won't work if you carry actually use a shield (it inhibits your parrying ability).

It will allow two handed users to choose between defense or attack, and make a long-term commitment (the training of the shield skill). Players that dislike the idea or concept of lugging a big piece of metal for blocking can instead opt for this brand (and not use the spell that provides a similar function). — studiomk 2010-07-25 06:10

Invisible Weapons

Invisible weapons are harder to hit with, and harder to dodge. See/sense invisible negates. Both a melee and a missile brand. — evktalo 2010-10-06 17:58

of Phasing

Has a chance to bypass enemy AC. 25% chance no effect, 25% chance ignores a third of enemy AC, 25% chance ignores half of enemy AC, 25% chance ignores all of the enemy's AC. Not generated on every weapon; instead, generated only on single handed blades (quickblades, daggers, short swords, sabres, falcions, long swords, scimitars). Ideally would make short blades viable in the end game without being entirely reliant on stabbing. Could also be a Translocation/Enchantment spell. — happylisk 2010-12-15 17:06

I rather like Short Blades' status as a niche school; it's nice differentiation. Also, unless I'm gravely mistaken, you forgot demon blades, and AC-ignoring demon blades, and probably even the rest, would be crazy. — mrmistermonkey 2010-12-16 02:03
You are right, I forgot demonblades. I think that shows that this brand, if added, should only go to short blades. I like the differentiation, but you can't really play a Dex/Ev fighter with shortblades and not rely on stabbing. Sure, quickblades of pain/elec are great, but see how far that gets you against an orb of fire. — happylisk 2010-12-16 01:50
Crosstrain to long blades, use slaying/might/distortion, or even something entirely different, such as spells/decks/invocations, if you really want to kill orbs of fire (hint: you don't have to kill orbs of fire). Short blades really needn't, and in my opinion shouldn't, appeal to every situation. — mrmistermonkey 2010-12-16 23:55

Skill-based protection brand

Protection currently provides a flat +5 to AC, which is pretty bad later on. I suggest that it give (Weapon skill+3)/2 AC instead, rounded down. 1 AC with 0 skill, 2 with 1 skill, 15 with 27 skill. +15 AC is a lot, but it requires training a weapon skill to 27 and discarding more offensive brands. We might see late-game players trying to decide between the damage output of an executioner's axe of speed or the defense of an executioner's axe of protection. This also gives some incentive to train weapon skill beyond what is needed for minimum delay - probably not nearly enough incentive to make people actually do it, but it's a start. — minmay 2011-04-12 21:31

To go skill-based, I'd prefer the use of the Shields or Armor skill to augment this either in place of, or more higher weighted in the computation than weapon skill. I would prefer to see weapon skill allow for innate defensive maneuvering (parrying) than have it be part of a very specifically-branded weapon. — XuaXua 2011-04-12 22:31
While XuaXua has a point, I support minmay's idea. It is very simple and can be used to make “of protection” (with the decisions indicated) interesting right now. If we get something more elaborate later on, we can revise (or even remove) the ego, but that'll be a long time. Until then, we have a better game with the modified protection brand. Patch welcome! — dpeg 2011-04-12 22:38
+1 from here too. — evktalo 2011-04-13 20:38
The other nice effect of this is that it makes the brand be useful-or-not based on the same skill as the other brands. Currently a guy who relies on his axe for offense would be silly to take protection over vorpal and a guy whose weapon is just for filling space and butchering corpses will grab the first protection brand he sees. Protection or not is a no-brainer dependent on your build because one boost is trivial compared to the other. With this you'd at least be able to ask “What's more important, an offensive boost or a comparable defensive boost?” This holds even in comparison to shields/armor/dodging based protection brands. — brickman 2011-04-13 06:08
I like this point very much. — evktalo 2011-04-13 20:38
Would it be necessary to have shields of protection take the shield skill into account? Or would “more defense from skill” be sort of redundant there? Maybe it could theoretically inspire a buckler-using caster to spend more xp on Shields to get more AC. — evktalo 2011-04-13 20:49
What, unfortunately for this discussion, ultimately makes the change for this brand to use a skill unnecessary is the existence of protection-branded items such as rings of protection. The ring could logically be defined as providing a global aura of protection around the user, not requiring any sort of skill; a weapon of protection currently works in the same fashion. There is no “ring skill” necessary to work the protection brand on a ring, same as for any given weapon. Now, making protection brands train Armor or Shield skill like armor to increase their effectiveness could be neat though, but could create an unnecessary skill sink. — XuaXua 2011-04-13 18:50
I don't think there's a “game world logic” need for weapons of protection to function exactly the same as rings of protection. Of course, the brands could be renamed if there is a clarity issue. — evktalo 2011-04-13 20:49
You could call the weapon/shield brand “of parrying” or perhaps “of finesse” - although that would perhaps imply EV instead of AC (which may make more sense anyway, especially if it gets tied to skill.) You could also call it “of absorption” (definitely AC there) and possibly make it more worth using by giving it +GDR (perhaps have it add to base AC for the GDR calculation similarly to how slaying adds to base weapon damage.) — jeffqyzt 2011-04-13 21:11
+1 for use of “of finesse” if applied to EV, saving “of parrying” in event that becomes a mechanic. Suggest keeping “of protection” to represent a flat +AC value and use “of defense” to apply to a skill-based AC modifier. — XuaXua 2011-04-14 00:01

Launcher or Missiles

of charm

Proposal of missiles with “charm” brand potential (not unlike the spell or the wand) to charm the target, similar to the concept of Cupid's Arrows of Love. To parallel the rare brand of “Reaping”, I an artefact “Cupid's Bow” short bow could be created which causes all unbranded arrows fired to act as both damage and charm, with charm chance based on the damage + of the arrow used.

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dcss/brainstorm/effect/new_brands.txt · Last modified: 2011-12-22 16:45 by XuaXua
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