Name dcss:feedback:god:makhleb
Summary Evil god of demons and explosions and killing things.
Related toReligious Background Reform
Added by eronarn
Added on 2010-05-30 07:36

Please add feedback here.

As a starting god

This specific thread is to discuss whether or not Makhleb should be included among the starting gods (as is currently an option with Chaos Knights). It was created to continue the related discussion begun on this Mantis thread: To preserve the progress made there, I've quoted from several people who made very salient points in the conversation, with attribution, along with my own input at the end:

Reasons in favour

Arguments in favor of keeping Makhleb available at the beginning of the game, to Chaos Knights or otherwise:

Makhleb fits the flavour of Chaos Knights very well

To quote kilobyte from the Mantis thread: “Removing Makhleb as a choice would mean Chaos Knights would be unable to choose the god who has literally “Champion of Chaos” as a title.”

Arguing that a title decides flavor is backwards; flavor should decide titles. The most chaotic thing I can find about Makhleb, a “God of chaos and violent death”, is –correct me if I'm wrong– the uncertainty in which bolt of destruction or demon you'll get from invocations, and in the case of demons, if they'll be friendly, but that can be weighted with high Invocations skill. If a chaotic flavor is desired for Makhleb, I daresay a revamp of the god's behavior is necessary; otherwise, I'd suggest using a theme closer to what Makhleb provides, and titles to match. — mrmistermonkey 2010-05-30 08:16

A multitude of starting gods is not inherently problematic

To quote kilobyte from the Mantis thread: “Multitude of choices isn't a bad thing by itself. So, I don't think Makhleb should be removed unless the CK background is removed or remade. Which is not out of question”

“I have no clue where this wellspring of support for removing makhleb chaos
knights or other god classes is coming from. The idea that the early game
 isn't hard enough is insane. Don't fix something that isn't broken.” sterjs 2845945

“Players who want to make obvious starting decisions don't spam
 Makhleb or Trog, they go with MdFi of Okawaru and wizards of Sif Muna. 
Doing away with starting gods does *nothing* to change that, and makes it 
feel much more risky to try non Sif/Okie/TSO gods.” 2845945

“Making the beginning harder doesn't add anything to the game because the player has no tactical choices until later.” 2845945

“Starting gods are interesting because they give the player tactical options right away. Removing the useful starting gods just reduces the range of interesting playstyles available at game start in favor of the ever nebulous “balance”. Winrate for CK of Makhleb on CAO is .47%. For Fi it is .46% despite 5x greater popularity. Yet CK of Makhleb is “imbalanced” because starting gods are strong. Again, don't fix something that isn't broken.” sterjs 2845945

“I learned about the
 abyss by sending Lugonu worshippers to their doom, and learned that Makhleb 
was awesome by starting his chaos knights. In contrast, I was much more
reluctant to try different gods when I got to the temple because my temple 
characters were, on my newbie scale, far-advanced characters I was MUCH
 less inclined to risk on an unfamiliar god.” 2845945

Makhleb is useful in the early game

From 757516: “I strongly oppose removing Makhleb CKs. Minor destruction is very useful in the early game but tapers off rapidly if you pick him up in a late temple, reducing it to a victory dancing tool. The CK class begins with less excess skill baggage than other melee starts, which is great for players who'd rather not have shield/unarmed/throwing skill. If “All starting gods must start with an active ability” is that important, why not simply switch minor destruction and his hp/kill ability? That makes more sense anyway, giving a tool to cause destruction before simply rewarding any and all destruction caused.”

Makhleb is also an extremely logical starting choice for Deep Dwarves. Then again, “DD were slated to be a challenge species, so I wouldn't worry much if they
lose the Makhleb option at the start. ;)” evktalo 2845945 and “They can easily reach the temple on their own.” dpeg, 2845945.

Reasons in opposition

Arguments in favor of removing Makhleb from the beginning of the game, to Chaos Knights or otherwise:

Too many starting gods

Makhleb does not necessarily confer an advantage specific to the early game akin to the other starting gods, and is just as well picked up later for that reason. To quote dpeg from the Mantis thread: “Right now, we have too many starting gods (BELMT1XYZ) and every starting god makes the temple and other altars less interesting.”

To quote lemuel from the Mantis thread: “The relevant question is what makes for more interesting gameplay. Fewer starting gods, in general, makes for better play because (1) getting the god of your choice is an exciting early-game milestone and (2) circumstances will sometimes compel/encourage you to pick a different god than you intended, leading to a broader range of combos being played.”

Does not fit the flavour of Chaos Knight

The issue of Makhleb fitting the current flavour of Chaos Knights is possibly just one of semantics, with the titles specific to Makhleb not really corresponding to “his” actual implementation gameplay-wise. In this regard, Makhleb is not particularly chaotic. The title “Champion of Chaos” has long ago been usurped by Xom if one uses a standard definition of “chaos” to refer to a state lacking order or predictability. I interpret this gameplay-wise to refer to randomness applied equally to friend and foe, irrespective of one's genus and/or alignment, with results falling on a spectrum from positive to negative (akin to the actual Chaos weapon brand). The only unordered dimension of Makhleb is in the random element of the minor/greater destruction and lesser/greater summoning invoked from him. The former are all flavours of conjurations, the latter are all flavours of demons, who themselves have ordered leadership in the form of the Pandemonium Lords and uniques in the Hells. I'm not saying that either Makhleb in particular or demons in general are “lawful” in a D&D sense, but he is always propitiated by violence and sacrifice, and in that regard is downright predictable.

The Chaotic gods, IMHO, are Nemelex (randomness of cards/gambling), Lugonu (randomness of spatiality), Xom (true randomness) and Jiyva (randomness of form). Among them, Lugonu also happens to be evil. Makhleb may better be identified as “strictly” an evil god, and could benefit from a redefined description and titles somewhere down the line that differentiates between “chaos” and his propensity for wanton and widespread destruction.

To quote sorear from 1955145: “Makhleb and Xom are too different to be in one race.”

To quote dpeg from 2041406: “I am not sure Makhleb is just a 'god about killing everything in sight'. There seems to be more to Makhleb (at least philosophically), since it is demon-related and chaos-related. (In my opinion, 'killing everything in sight' is not good enough a theme for a god in Crawl: since almost all characters are interested in killing everything in sight, the theme should be more refined.)”

The Chaos Knight job itself needs change

As kilobyte wrote above, these differences in opinion may actually lie with the current implementation of the Chaos Knight job.

If Makhleb is removed from the starting options for Chaos Knights, this would leave Xom and Lugonu remaining. Going a step further, perhaps “Chaos Knight” is not really very descriptive of a follower of Xom either; would anyone identify Crazy Yiuf as a Chaos Knight? The starting name for a Xom devotee should be equally plausible in the case of that gnoll. If Makhleb is removed from the starting lineup, the Chaos Knight job could be renamed to something else, with Lugonu either staying there or being reassigned elsewhere.

To quote dpeg from the Mantis thread: “For example, if we keep both Xom and Lugonu as starting gods (which is fine by me), I'd like to have background name “Doom Knight” for Lugonites (this will work even better once Lugonu allows and demands corruption of altars) and for Xom something like “Chevalier of Fortune” (this is a more or less direct translation of the German “Glücksritter”, not sure how awkward it sounds to a native ear)… In any case, having a dedicated background for each available god sounds good to me. The only problem here is Beogh.”

To quote maiermrk from 1646508: ”'Knight' carries (to me at least) strong connotations of shining armour or fighting from horseback, neither of which applies to chaos knights.”

To quote dpeg from 757516: “we could re-use job names as follows:

Pr - priest of Zin (or of Beogh for HOPr)

DP - death priest (of Yrdy); DK would also be okay

CP - chaos priest (of Xom); CK would also be okay

BP - black priest (of Lugonu); BK would also be okay.

In other words: one job - one god.”

straydusk 2010-05-30 07:51

Alternative Abilities

Makhleb's abilities right now are great but don't really communicate the chaotic message. I suggest (and I suggest lightly) replacing his minor destruction/major destruction with the ability: “Conjure Chaos”. The beam hits all monsters and applies a random effect from the chaos brand list to every monster caught in the beam (this means each monster invidivudally receives a different effect from all the others). Higher invocations deals more damage or strengthens each effect (eg. slowing/paralysis/draining/haste) and, naturally, each effect is irresistable (balanced by the fact it can also berserk/haste/heal enemies). My other idea is to replace “Lesser Servant/Greater Servant” with “Spawn Chaos” that creates chaos spawns around the player. Higher invocations summons more of them. His last ability would be “Invoke Chaos” where the player receives a random effect from the chaos list (chance to heal/hasten/do something good to player increases with invocations skill). I think these abilities would communicate the message that you're working for a chaotic god, not a demon god. Anyway, if players want 1s they should really go use the (underused) Book of Demonology. As it stands, not enough people use that book so these changes may encourage them to do so. — studiomk 2010-09-04 10:25

I have doubts about this random final ability. Look how unpopular Wand of Random Effects and Recite are. — b0rsuk 2010-09-04 11:29
That's the unpredictability of the god you're worshipping. Otherwise, Makhleb shouldn't be a god of chaos, he should be a god of demons. Most people use Makhleb for healing from kills only, and when in a tough spot summoning the random 1 or 3. No one really relies or regularly use any of his abilities other than minor destruction (to train invocations). — studiomk 2010-09-04 11:41
People regularly use minor destruction as ranged utility. No one uses major destruction because two shots cost as much as a demon that's likely to kill half the level and it's bad to begin with. Gimmick abilities like yours would ensure that everyone ignores the invocations - Makhleb's “chaos” is dubious, yes, but it works.

For what it's worth, the greater demon invocation is incomparable to the spell - it's far longer-lasting and remarkably safer. — og17 2010-09-04 18:42
The greater demon invocation is the reason the spell is so bad. — studiomk 2010-09-04 20:38
The greater demon spell itself is very much the reason that the greater demon spell is so bad, though the two aren't competitors to begin with. — og17 2010-09-04 21:16

Gods should be designed solely for interesting gameplay. If Makhleb works well (as it does, IMO) then no changes should be made because of flavor text like “chaos”; the text should be changed to reflect the mechanics. — lemuel 2010-09-04 19:36

If the text was changed it would be much better. — studiomk 2010-09-04 20:38
+1. My personal opinion, which motivated the creation of the “As a starting god” section, is that Makhleb is extremely well-implemented gameplay wise, but should have different textual flavour and should also be removed as a starting deity. — Straydusk 2010-09-16 21:12
As a player who had more than one character die to Makhleb's abilities in a situation that probably wouldn't have been fatal without, I think he's plenty chaotic. Greater destruction has an extremely variable area of effect (Lesser destruction is less so) that can easily injure an incautious worshipper, and the demons are prone to desertion. The only thing that needs changing is to decrease the cost of Greater Destruction to a level where people will actually use it in some situations instead of just summoning demons (Unless it's already 1, in which case perhaps increase its damage but include even more outcomes that could hurt the player, like an explosion that happens halfway between you and the target and is big enough to encompass you both. Or just leave it as a lost cause I guess). — Brickman 2010-11-01 05:32

Makhleb MP for kills takes Vehumets niche

Makhleb's HP/MP for kills is an excellent abillity, however it seems strictly better than Vehumet's similar MP for kills abillity. Furthermore it takes a niche from a rather bland god already (Vehumet is not exactly the most interesting one of the Pantheon). It seems like most players choose Makhleb for HP for kills, and regaining MP is just an icing on the cake. Furthermore this change would make greater demons less spammable, which might be a good thing. I believe removing this part of the abillity (only regaining MP) would more clearly differentiate between the two gods starting abillities, while only slightly weakening Makhleb followers.

This might slighly reduce Makhleb's potential for spellcasters, however his HP for kills and demon summoning abillities are still very desirable, so I don't think it would be a big problem. - Sealer 2010-12-11 12:45

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dcss/brainstorm/god/makhleb.txt · Last modified: 2011-12-21 16:53 by XuaXua
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