Stealth God (B)

From 2086922.

The title is a misnomer — this god should be usable by all characters who go with Stealth. On the other hand, she should be the starting god of Thieves. Here is why: in the current game, thief play is absent. As all experience comes from killing, “stealing” would be an artificial gadget and not enough to sustain a playing style (or a class). Hence, proper Thief play necessitates getting xp in other ways.

Goal

Allowing for a playing style not focused on killing. If doing so, Ratri (temporary name only!) provides enough experience to gain levels. It is also possible to kill (in various degrees), in which case Ratri experience will be less but still a nice bonus. Thus, standard playing styles that work well with Stealth (rangers, many casters) can follow Ratri, too.

Summary
  • gain xp for exploration, amount depending on piety
  • piety gain is positively related to gold collected and negatively to the conduct (no noises etc.)
  • it is easy to get to piety around 50, from then on special behaviour is needed
  • power: sneak (prayer), apportation (also steals), portals (needed as autotravel won't work as well), sense monsters, blend in
Piety
  • Gain: Collecting gold. Ratri will show where the gold is, and expects players to get it. Spending money has no impact on piety. (Each coin is worth the same towards piety, no scaling — although this may be impossible to achieve. We don't want to encourage strange gameplay, trying to avoid rich areas. Hence, if you go with Ratri, the gold you carry is fully accounted for.)
  • Loss for noises caused by the player. This presupposes a bigger change, but it would be worth it: all forms of melee and ranged attacks should make noise (it seems sensible to scale volume to weight of the weapon or projectile — this way daggers, darts and needles are silent, but maces and bolts are loud). It would penalise waking of monsters (the shout!), thus reward quick kills. Fighting apart from you summons/allies) should make noises, too. This would first settle the insanity of summons fighting out of your LOS, killing everyone but waking noone. Next, it'd make summon play unfeasible for Ratri. Spells should get noise levels. Would be nice to have general principles for this. (In general, larger area should mean more noise but probably element could factor in, e.g. Venom being silent etc.)
  • In particular, loss for killing in messy ways. A clean stab is absolutely fine with Ratri, as are one-hit kills in general. Curare is good, as is monsters drowning.
  • Loss for leaving a level with (known) gold on it.
  • Over time, piety is constant.
Experience

Experience gain must be linked to exploration. I suggest to use the total xp of monsters upon level generation as the starting point. This is least intrusive: you don't have to seek monsters artificially, but just to explore. (Of course, killing a monster gives you the full xp. The monster will not be removed from the xp pool for the current level — in principle, you could kill everyone and still get some additional xp. Of course, the balancing factor is that killing in messy ways reduced piety, hence additional xp gain.)

In any case, we need to scale xp gain by piety. I would like it so that a piety 200 character (who is only rarely killing) gets xp/2 of a character who'd kill everything (xp/2 seems appropriate as not killing is much less dangerous than actually killing things). A less strict follower settling with 50 piety, say, should get substantially less — perhaps xp/10 (additional!) experience.

Mechanics: You are awarded your xp per dungeon level once you have explored sufficiently much of it (the needed rate of exploration should vary a bit, say between 60% and 80%). “Explored” means that you discover original open space; in particular, digging would not help. We don't want players to manually track down how much they've explored, so that could be announced.

The whole xp system is very flexible, see below for other interesting approaches. The essentials are:

  • Ratri followers get xp for actions other than killing
  • If they follow the conduct to the tee, they gain enough xp to make a living.
  • If they don't, they can still expect some noticeable bonus xp.

Ideally,

  • Ratri can be changed to later on (after the midgame, say) and be still of use.
Powers
  • Prayer: running speed +4 (slower!), doubled stealth — perhaps also reduced vision (for everyone, player and monsters). (Sneak)
  • Apportation (0 piety). Invocations determines spell power. Trains Invocations. We might consider one (or both) of these two:
    • Ratri apportation tries to apport all sufficiently light items in LOS at once (no targeting necessary)
    • Gold is picked up from afar, always; or at least if you're close enough (with maximal piety whenever gold is in LOS)
  • Theft (0 piety). The monster must be adjacent and unaware of you. (Else you could rob high level nemeses off their gear, one by one.) Robbing has a chance of waking them. You can not choose what to steal (for interface reasons) but the defaults should be sane: runes have highest priority; after that go by value. Worn and wielded items can be stolen. as well.
  • Ratri Portal (* piety). I suggest that the interface is like that of autotravel. It should respect travel exclusions and preferably land on waypoints; apart from that, land on stairs. After the player enters the portal, it is still some turns open, so that monsters can follow. Inv affects how long the portal takes to materialise.
  • Sense Monsters (** piety). Tells monster class, but not the individual type. Radius depends on Invocations. Since you can probably infer the status (sleepiness at least) from whether it's moving or not, we may want to decide to show it anyway (I'd suggest lightgrey or white glyphs and usual branding.) Note that Ratri goes slightly into Ashenzari (divinations god) territory (sensing monsters, sensing gold)
  • Blend In (***** piety), could also be called Hide In Shadows. Can only be used with at least three adjacent walls (of any type). Turns the player @ into a wall of adjacent type and waits for a long time. Monsters will forget you and start wandering around or even go to sleep. Greatly reduced hunger rate, no healing. Cannot be done if confused. [Note: something similar is now used for Cheibriados, god of slowness. So a different highest power may be needed — I believe that followers of the Thief should get a thematic, get-out-of-jail ability. For example, a power to start the level again, with asleep monsters.)
  • Gift: Curare needles. In small quantities, and with a weighted roll against the skill. We might want to hand out other poison/curare ammunition, depending on ranged skills.
  • Gift: Shoplift. If this is gifted, the player gets another option when visiting shops: 'S'hoplift. The player chooses an item, which is then transferred into his inventory. Shoplifts should stack, so that you can save them for a bazaar, say. Can only steal once per shop: “Krusi Fix is highly suspicious since the [stolen item] disappeared.”
Retributions
  • Draining experience. (Xp-scumming countermeasure. Note that the Ratri-xp spent in skills can never be taken away, so we have to be more drastic with draining levels.)
  • Stealing items from inventory (rarely, and not artefacts). Choose item using values as weigths. Alternatively, steal substantial sums of money.
  • Ratri's curse: occasionally, an item about to be picked up by the player is turned into gold, a nominal sum of random2(10) only.
Taxation

Might rule that one third of all found money goes to Ratri (also affects the money you carry when taking her on). If we do this, then one retribution must be theft of money.

Starting god and colours
  • Thieves start with this god. (This god defines Thief play, in an even stronger sense than how Trog defines Berserking.) They get the usual 30 piety, thus can use some powers immediately.
  • Ratri's colours are black/darkgrey. But the altars are 'covert': they always have the colour of the dominating of adjacent features. (E.g. the altar is brown if it is surrounded by five rocks walls and floor else; should some rock around it be disintegrated, the altar's colour will match the floor's colour.)
Flavour text

Ratri is the patron of those who favour night over day and shadow over light. Sneakingly making a fortune, preferably without leaving any traces, is highly rewarded. Ratri dislikes noisy and rampant behaviour. If killing is necessary, it should be performed like an art, not like a passtime.

Analysis

Getting experience for not killing can be made as strong as we like, so I don't worry about the Thief god's power. However, the god becomes less attractive the more you have explored…. Strictly speaking, the same is true for blood gods: the more you have killed already, the less potential piety sits in the dungeon. But for Ratri, having explored half the dungeon does not mean less piety, but less xp. On the other hand, you already got the full xp of those levels by killing, so it's probably not so bad. Still, it should be possible to get piety up faster if you're deeper down. One aspect is that you pay tribute to Ratri all the time: if you join her late, you will have usually more money on (especially, as it's unwise to pay a lot in shops if you consider going to Ratri).

Additional ideas

If we find that these ideas are not enough to make Thief play work, we can fall back on the following additional ideas:

  • Reducing Field of Vision with piety (Erik). Advantage of making both travel and stabbing easier. Disadvantage: it's a second major change in one god. I don't want to break too many rules.
  • Make monsters only shout after one turn. (Borsuk) Or something between zero and one turns.
  • Passive ability for Ratri: better poisoning rates, increasing with piety.
  • A “Rerun” ability (piety 150, probably costing xp and much piety), which gives you a second chance on a level where everybody's awake. This is problematic to nail down, though. Also, just waiting long enough does something like this.
  • Silence — either that your noise level is reduced (so you pay piety in order to make noisy actions) or real Silence.
  • For the Thief god, one passive ability should be to cut down the noise you are making. I suggest an additive effect as in noise = noise - piety/constant so what with growing piety, more and more actions actually become silent. (Idea by dolorous.)
  • If we find that stealing works well, it could be opened up to everyone (i.e. not just followers of Ratri), by allowing attacks on unaware monsters to steal something. Ratri would simply boost that style. The skill should be Stabbing (could be renamed to Opportunist). From 2047540.
  • Likewise, it would be possible to hand out xp for exploration not just for Ratri followers, but for everyone. Ratri would simply increase the xp you get (lemuel).
dpeg:
(1) The portals ability should be simpler: only land on waypoints. You can use the first piety/20 waypoints for this. Note that Ratri portals help at least in two places: orb run and being bubbled off. The latter is okay, the former may need countermeasures.
(2) Silence is problematic: I don't we want players to use Silence and then melee to their hearts' desire.
(3) xp per level could be X*p^2/50000 + X*min(p,30)/50 where p=piety upon entering the level, and X=total xp (of all hostile monsters upon entering the level). Note that spawning or increasing piety later will not help. This by itself should be incentive to pick up all gold.
(4) Paying for conduct breaking should be cheaper than paying for new piety.
I really like this. — noxn 2010-01-26 20:11
A suggestion: All altars for Ratri should be hidden. And there should be more ways to gain/lose piety. — noxn 2010-01-27 10:38
What about gaining xp for seeing items instead of exploration? — ahyangyi 2010-02-23 14:35

“You see the Orb of Zot. You feel more experienced. You have reached Level 24!”

That's a good idea — the only problem I see is that it's hard to scale xp gain to item value. Whereas using monsters on a level means we're keeping the normal xp scale. I agree that getting runes should be worth something, especially as Ratri supports getting runes in ninja-style.

Some more random thoughts (dpeg 2010-03-19 01:13):

  • We could also declare that a level is properly explored if the player found all six staircases (or five of them); perhaps together with sufficient gold. (E.g. count all gold on the map, and tell the player once she has 3/4 of it.)
  • Running around with monsters on your heels should be okay — I'd think that Ratri rather wants that than cumbersome melee; and it's also more interesting to allow players to run rather than punishing them for this. We could make matters easier for players by increasing chances (with Invocations) that pursuing monsters forget their target, and generally become unaware/asleep faster.

What about merging this idea with Witch's Cat? I always thought that that proposal was too in-your-face wacky to make for a good race, but some of the stuff in it is pretty neat and might fit very well in a god. Ratri could be flavoured to favour cats (not at all out of theme for a thief god) and gain a couple of abilities. At 3 piety stars, the player could recieve cat form. The transformation would cost power and hunger, but not piety and would be of indefinite length. You would only change back upon using the “end transformation” ability or dropping below three stars of piety. While in cat form, most of the perks/limitations proposed in the Witch's Cat page could be activated. Then, at 5 piety stars, Ratri could grant lifesaving. It would function similar to the protection from harm that other gods have except that, rather than just preventing the damage, it will teleport you somewhere safe (maybe even the previous level) with full HP and MP, but no inventory and an empty mutation set. Your entire inventory will still be sitting at the place of your death along with a “cat corpse of $playername.” Of course, if you were killed by anything that can wield equipment, it might rifle through your gear before you can get back to it. Depending on how powerful this ability (and Ratri's other abilities) turns out to be, the lifesaving could be chance based or could happen 100% of the time at sufficient piety. Alternately, it could happen say 25% of the time while in humanoid form, but 100% of the time while in cat form. Either way, Ratri should only save your life a maximum of 8 times per game. — 256 2010-09-08 20:41
Two words: brokenly overpowered. Straight casters could invoke cat form to get fantastic lifesaving and not suffer any offensive penalties from the loss of their gear; if they're Foo Storming, Crystal Spearing casters, they could probably even just go back and kill whatever killed them. — dtsund 2010-09-09 07:25
The race has really crippling restrictions: tiny hp, no AC (not even that ~15 pure EV chars get), no resists, no weapon brands, no randarts on any of those slots, no wands – all to balance multiple lives, and it probably is still overpowered. There's no way you can balance this for a god. — kilobyte 2010-09-09 11:34
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dcss/brainstorm/god/propose/stealth_b.txt · Last modified: 2011-12-21 18:25 by XuaXua
 
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