Silver & Chaos Reform

Name dcss:brainstorm:misc: silverchaos
Summary Plan for making silver a material of order; i.e. it will hurt chaotic beings instead of demons.
Added by evktalo
Added on 2010-01-13 16:05

Silver ammo in it's first incarnation hurts demons and undead, much like holy wrath. There's also shapechangers, which holy wrath doesn't cover, so it makes silver a bit more original. There was a proposal to swap demons out and make it hurt chaotic beings. This adds orbs of fire so silver will have late-game uses besides from ancient liches.

Mailing list discussions: |1 2 (somewhat off-topic) 3

Comments are appreciated, especially any missing implications; and pointers to code what to change. The plan itself is agreed-upon (check the first ML discussion). Random ideas are just random ideas and not part of the plan!

A bit of discussion

In an earlier discussion (that included my suggestion of making jellies chaotic) eronarn made a useful division into:

  1. chaoticness
  2. formlessness
  3. perversion of form

Xom is about chaoticness and perversion of form, Jiyva is about formlessness and perversion of form. (Mutations are 3.). Transmuters aren't chaotic or formless, but perversion of form because they borrow shapes other than their own. (“Perversion” is a word somewhat loaded with negative meaning, but this is not intended here.)

Here's my new treatment on things Zin and silver:

Jellies that aren't undead or chaotic are just formless, and aren't chaotic. (And need no specific code/checks in this idea).

Zin wouldn't mind formlessness (a jelly breaking down stuff in the Dungeon is just doing it's natural thing), but would object to Jiyva because of the mutations, and possibly on how J uses jellies.

Zin would object chaoticness (which would signify creatures with chaotic essence), and to willfull perversion of form (such as knowing chaotic spells). But not unintended mutations/transformations.

Silver wouldn't discriminate between intended and unintended mutations and transformations. Silver's natural property is to hurt beings that are out of their pure/original/essential form. (Undead are perversion of form.) Players will get hurt according to how mutated or transformed they are. This means early demonspawn are less hurt by silver than later ones, and the player in Dragon Form gets hurt in full, while a player with Blade Hands gets only some extra damage. Silver wouldn't hurt spellcasters with chaotic spells, though. They aren't “essentially” chaotic in their own being.

Silver doesn't make moral judgement. Zin is delighted about silver's properties. Kiku and Yred think undead is a perfectly “good” existence; silver is an annoying substance but just because an element has such properties, it doesn't mean being undead is wrong. (Beogh thinks, form pure or not, it should be orc.)

And finally, merfolk on land is “a perversion of form”; their natural, true form is the tailed one in the water. Silver hurts them in land form, and Zin probably would think Merfolk should stay in the water and not walk the earth. In a theoretical world of Crawl outside the Dungeon, merfolk worshippers of Zin would preach against such land adventuring that player character merfolk do. I'm thinking Zin wouldn't accept land-adventuring Merfolk as worshippers. The reasons are purely flavour of course.

For merfolk, changing between legs and tail seems to be an automatic, universal, and indeed fully natural transformation in-game. Why do you say their “true” form is the aquatic? They certainly seem innately amphibious to me. Is it a perversion when a tadpole becomes a frog? Zin's free to think what he likes regarding the matter, but I don't see why silver itself should file them as “impure.” — og17 2010-03-31 17:35

List of implications

Note: Italics is used to note what has been implemented, strikethrough with italics shows what's in the code but should be changed.

Things that silver hurts, but Zin doesn't reward killing (static bool _silver_damages_victim in

  • Corporeal undead
  • A (non-shapechanger) monster transformed from it's original form (needs to keep track of monster's original form when polymorphed (like is done for Porkalator in and an is_transformed check)
    • Will make a wand of polymorph other combo with silver ammo!
    • It would be nice if we could set this property of a monster (the original form) on it's creation. Kirke's band could be marked as originally human from the start.
    • Notably missing Dissolution (for silver damage) and Prince Ribbit.
  • A mutated player (according to how mutated you are. 5% more damage per level of mutation, up to 100%)
  • A transformed player (using player_is_shapechanged(), which leaves Blade Hands users (and Merfolk out of water) without extra damage.)

Things that silver hurts, and Zin rewards killing (monster::is_chaotic check):

  • Monsters that have chaotic spells as innate abilities (i.e. aren't actual spellcasters; this includes for example demons)
  • Monsters that have chaotic attacks (mutate, chaos, klown)
  • Shapechangers and glowing shapechangers
  • Ugly things
  • Tiamat for her colour changes.

Things that Zin rewards killing, but silver doesn't hurt:

  • Monsters that have chaotic spells and are actual spellcasters
  • Monsters that have rotting, diseasing, stat-draining or disease attacks (monster::is_unclean which was recently added to distinguish chaotic and unclean; stat-draining isn't there yet)
  • Monsters that have stealing attacks (included in monster::is_unclean)
  • Insane uniques (Crazy Yiuf, Psyche). Yeah, that's Zin for you.
  • Gastronok hasn't really transformed, but Zin sure is aghast with him.
  • Monsters which worship chaotic gods

Zin disapproves (haven't checked status):

  • Voluntarily transforming yourself
  • Voluntarily transforming others
  • Learning a chaotic or unclean spell
  • Glaive of Prune (although the description is pure flavour)
  • Using unclean items (needles of sickness should be added)
  • Using chaotic items

Chaotic glow aura

Arguably, the distinction of a chaotic monster isn't all that clear. I simply think there's no easily recognizable, common trope behind it. Thus we could do a trick to point out the chaotic monsters both visually and mechanically. The trick is this:

  • All chaotic monsters have a 1-radius aura around them
  • It's a visual thing
  • But also, being in the aura gives you Glow

Some monsters could have a larger Glow aura.

Random ideas


From crd:

>>     Mark weapons of distortion as chaotic and potentially unholy.
>>     Rationale: The Banishment spell is considered chaotic and unholy, and
>>     the distortion effects aside from banishment are chaotic.
>Right, but note that finding a weapon of distortion on the first few levels
>now means that you have to abandon your god or face likely death.

(commit was reverted)

Perhaps the good gods could intervene - prevent unlucky wielding and id the distortion weapon.

Silver statues

While Zin has silver as the “signature material”, there's nothing keeping evil (demons) using silver as well. Hence, a demon-summoning silver statue is all right. Nifty thematic change would be to only summon demons that aren't chaotic.

Geryon's horn is also a silver horn. — evktalo 2010-01-13 16:46


Okawaru is dubbed “lawful neutral” in a comment. While D&D-like alignments don't (and arguably shouldn't) have a 1-1 equivalence in Crawl, I found that bit inspiring. Perhaps Okawaru should object to chaos like Zin does?

Oka “lawful”? He looks perfectly neutral to me. — kilobyte 2010-01-13 21:38

Since silver won't hurt all demons - just chaotic ones now; some demons could perhaps be made undead as well as demons (caveat: dispel undead gains more power!);

  • Hellwing
  • Lemure, manes
  • Rotting devil
  • Reaper and/or soul eater
I don't see any justification for this. — kilobyte 2010-01-13 21:38
Clarified: undead as well as demons. Hellwing and reaper are described as “skeletal” and have an undead theme; lemure and manes in Wikipedia are linked to the dead. Rotting devil is a decaying demon which is the association with undead (but not as strong as the previous ones). It would be nice to make one hell lord and one non-random pan lord suspectible to silver as well. (The Dispel Undead caveat is very much in effect here as well). — evktalo 2010-01-14 10:57
I've long thought it strange that reapers aren't undead, considering they're literally following the “grim reaper” archtype. Being invulnerable to dispel undead may be useful when using them as a necromancy miscast, but their not being undead makes little sense in itself. — og17 2010-03-31 17:35

How about summons?

A popular theory is that most summons are real creatures transported from elsewhere. Shadow Creatures, however are flavourized to be “woven from Abyssal matter” and would therefore be chaotic in essence. I tremble at the thought of implementing the repercussions. (Could give them the chaotic glow aura below) — evktalo 2011-02-11 11:44

How about rakshasa illusions?

I think the whole idea of chaotic monsters is contrived and opaque. It's non-intuitive and often hard to guess which monster is chaotic and which not. — b0rsuk 2010-02-14 13:18
The interface tells this in 0.6. — evktalo 2010-03-31 14:19
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dcss/brainstorm/effect/silverchaos.txt · Last modified: 2011-12-22 16:45 by XuaXua
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