Player vs. Monster Asymmetries/Inconsistencies

Name dcss:brainstorm:misc: list of player vs monster asymmetries
Summary Stuff works differently for players and monsters in many cases. It may be good to unify some of these.
Added by galefury
Added on 2011-11-28 21:00

Combat and other things work differently for players and monsters in many cases. It may be good to unify some of these. It can simplify the code (much of that has already happened via the UCC branch) and is good for clarity (if it works that way for me, why doesn't it for the monsters?). Also, if there are reasons for something to work in a certain way, these often apply to both players and monsters. Of course there are cases where things need to be different.

The purpose of this list is to track these asymmetries, clarify whether they are intentional, and discuss whether they should be unified or not and how (possibly on a separate page). Please add any asymmetries that might be worth discussing.

Yellow draconian breath

Player yellow draconians have fairly long cooldown on their breath. Monster yellow draconians still have no apparent cooldown, they can spit acid many times in a short period of time. — b0rsuk 2013-05-24 10:10

Brand damage on 0 damage attacks

Monster attack brands don't trigger on 0 damage attacks, player weapon brands do. A possible explanation for monster brands not working is that the player is not hurt if the armor is frozen, heated or drained. Any attack needs to reach the player's body to damage it. The gameplay effect of this is that heavy armor offers limited protection against branded attacks via high AC and GDR (this also means some protection against item destruction), bringing it more in line with EV builds.

Many monsters have natural armor that is a living part of their body (thick skin, scales, etc.), so the flavor reason does not necessarily apply to them. This natural armor does protect against elemental spells however, so it seems to be resistant to extremes of temperature. Making a difference between natural and artificial armor is definitely not worthwhile.

Poison resistance

Poison resistance was changed to only be 90% effective for players (in some cases), but a single level still provides immunity to regular poisons for monsters. Note that resistance already works differently for players and monsters in most other cases, with monsters getting immunity at +++, and that there are good reasons for that. So rP being changed to 90% resistance only brings it in line with most other resists.

Very strongly disagree here. Monsters with rF+++, rC+++ and rN+++ *individually* have very good thematic reasons to be immune to those elements: things that are partly or mostly made of those “elements” (orbs of fire, ice beasts, ice fiends, etc) or undead/demons. This is not true of poison-resistant living monsters. A particularly awful case is player vs. monster nagas. -IonFrigate


The player uses movement delay and attack delay, while monsters accumulate energy at a certain rate and mostly have fixed costs of 10 energy to attack and move. Among other things this leads to monster spriggans, centaurs and nagas having different movement speed than player characters of the same species. There may also be other reasons for this movement speed difference, but the fundamental speed asymmetry makes it impossible to resolve.


Most humanoid monsters can only wear body armor (and use shields? I'm not sure). They cant wear boots, gloves, cloaks and helmets. Also no jewellery. Jewelry for monsters was added.

Time is not consumed when monsters equip armor.

Cloud damage

Clouds of fire, cold and holy flames do far more damage to players (d23+10) than to monsters (d16+6).

Clouds are reasonably easy for players to get, and weaknesses of the AI make them plenty lethal. Monster clouds are *horribly* lethal, but this is nerfed by the human-I avoiding them with high success; also, only intentionally-very-scary monsters have access to clouds. An alternate world where clouds were easier for monsters to get but did less damage to players is conceivable, but it's be a lot of work to get there. — drpraetor 2011-11-30 02:59

Sticky flame and other spells

Players cast sticky flame at melee range, monsters cast it at full range. This is especially apparent with player ghosts, who are supposed to use the same spells as the recently deceased character. Smoke demons having ranged sticky flame is fine IMO, but ghosts should mirror player spells if possible. Ghosts use range 1 autohit Sticky Flame.

Another spell that is apparently different for monsters and players is orb of destruction. It does full damage at any range and never dissipates for monsters. This misleads players into trying to do silly things (like trying to hit out of sight monsters with OOD).

An example which illustrates that the same spell sometimes needs to be different (even for ghosts) is the recent overhaul of twisted resurrection, of which the monster version is much more powerful so you get to sometimes see abominations at all. However, this does not mislead the player into using bad tactics.

Polymorph and Form Changing

Players hit with wand of polymorph gain mutations. Creatures hit with wand of polymorph are permanently transformed.

Players transformed into other forms (via spells), do not drop their equipment; it is either maintained if still viable (body armor on Blade Hands) or melds (bat form) and comes back later, or presumably at time of death. Monsters transformed into other forms (via Form Changing; have not tested spells) drop all their equipment on the ground (see Wand of Polymorph), even if the new form is viable (example: an orc transformed into a hobgoblin).

At time of death, transformed creatures leave the corpse of their transformed shape (Royal Jelly into Gold Dragon leaves Gold Dragon corpse, viable for hide creation); Prince Ribbit transforms back into a human.

Suggested solution: all creatures transformed maintain equipment: viable is still wielded, non-viable melds. At time of death, creature corpse (if any) is back to original state and any equipment originally carried drops. 5022XuaXua 2011-12-23 18:47

Invisible Monsters hit with Wand of Polymorphism (including Elrolcha who casts it as a spell) are turned visible. — XuaXua 2012-07-23 03:37

Movement via Ranged Dispersal Usage

Players hit by a dispersal-branded projectile launched from a monster appear to move via blink rules from the player perspective. They can blink out of sight of the launching monster.

Monsters hit by a dispersal-branded projectile launched from a player appear to move via blink rules from a combined monster / player perspective. That is, they never blink out of sight, and they sometimes blink to areas they couldn't possibly see. It is my opinion that this reduces the utility of the dispersal brand from a player perspective.

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dcss/brainstorm/gameplay/list_of_player_vs_monster_asymmetries.txt · Last modified: 2013-05-24 10:12 by b0rsuk
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