Food and Consumption

Currently, there are very many food items, but they're essentially all the same, apart from

  • weight
  • nutrition
  • duration of eating

The exceptions are royal jellies, Fedhas & fruits, and the herbivore/carnivore distinction. Much more could be done, however, and ideas should go on this page. dpeg thinks that it is completely okay to have food with weird or magical effects. However, in order to make those more food-like (and distinct from potions etc.), we should follow an idea mentioned by eronarn on the crawl-dev channel:

[stomach rule]
Magical food items have a duration of how long their effect lasts. (Can be randomised.)
If you eat anything else, the effect is cancelled.
I like the idea of special food. Food shops are currently the dullest. Nox had food with drawbacks. Mushrooms cured poison, jugs healed; both caused a few seconds of confusion. Mushrooms could be a whole new category of consumables, and thus identifiable. As for fixing food shops, they could be merged with potion shops. Instead of stomach rule, you could have food effects that kick in only after a number of turns (10 after eating etc), and/or only one kind of food would be active at a time. But more generally, most characters are heavily reliant on corpse chunks and it's no wonder permafood isn't used. — b0rsuk 2010-09-05 20:18

Another interesting property of a special food item could be that it only work at special satiation levels (e.g. need to be engorged, or must be hungry).

  • Spell Hunger: Remove spell hunger for a specific duration (looking at casting level 9 spells here). Currently, the only way of doing that is through a staff of energy. Stomach rule applies.
    Modified proposal by dpeg 2010-09-05 22:41: instead of removing spell hunger, I suggest halving it. There is no need to make the food item as good as the original. In this case, it will be particularly interesting, as spellcasting high-level spells will cost food even after eating that item…
  • Lesser stat restoration: Currently, royal jellies are identical to potions of restore abilities. This is not ideal. We could keep the flavour by making them work less well: prevent stat loss for the next 100 (say) turns and have a chance of 1% (say) per turn during that duration to improve a single lost stat. Stomach rule applies.
  • Increase MR after consumption (for some duration, like potion of resistance). Stomach rule applies.
  • Vampire food: Naturally in the form of black pudding (or similar). This would allow bloodless Vampires to heal without drainable monsters (even if the nutrition of the item is minimal). Opinions are divided about whether Vampires should (not) get a hand in the extended endgame (it clearly is possible without such help). One good point an item like sausages is that they're quite limited. [This is off-topic, but kilobyte suggested a spell which increases the durability of a wielded corpse or blood potion. Would be Nec/Hex or possibly Ice/Hex.]
    • Strongly against vampires having “real” food (black pudding or sausage). This goes strongly against their flavor. I'd be much more in favor of increasing the number of enemies with blood in the lategame - doesn't even need to be by that much. — Eronarn 2010-09-05 19:18
    • I agree. More blooded enemies in later areas (eg. blooded dragons/necromancers/wizards/hell knights) is a more optimal solution but, if that's not possible… — StudioMK 2010-09-06 09:36
      • In my opinion, this approach misses that adding blooded monsters also has drawbacks: if the monster is rare, there's either grinding for it (endless branches) or blood monster roulette (finite branches). If the monster is not rare, the branch loses not just flavour but also special gameplay (Vampiric Draining will be useful again etc.). In contrast, with a food item (whose rarity we can control), the player knows in advance how much emergency healing will be available. However, I am not convinced that the issue actually needs addressing. Vampires and Yredelemnul being weaker for full rune games is not necessarily something to fix. (The image of a desperate vampire trying to suck blood out of his black pudding is hilarious, but I like it.) — dpeg 2010-09-06 22:42
  • Regeneration would also be a natural candidate for a food item. Comes with a duration and stops working if not engorged.
  • Sickness: eating any fruit could have a chance of 10% of getting rid of Sickness.
  • I like the idea of a food item that makes beneficial effects last longer and harmful ones last shorter. — Eronarn 2010-09-05 19:18
  • Low-value MP restoration is a neat little trick for tiny food items. It invalidates the stomach rule, of course, making it a trade-off.
  • Sense Invisible, like with antennae (i.e. you see a ~ symbol, but don't know what the monster is). I suggest that the duration is very short, but appears in the tiny food items that are generated in piles (grapes, sultanas or strawberries). dpeg thinks it should be a mushroom effect. — evktalo 2010-10-06 17:55

I think it's boring to have so much “mundane” food, but I'm also not a fan of mundane food providing powerful magical effects. I'd rather see some existing food items shifted to be explicitly magical in nature. (Can we make an exception to the reference rule so that we can have “grapes of wrath”, which extend berserk duration?) — Eronarn 2010-09-05 19:18

Is there an actual need for this? If having varied “boring” food is a problem, base types could be cut down (which I think would be more boring), but making food into a second potion type adds unnecessary complexity - nutrition is nutrition, but this would make players consider a dozen different secondary effects before eating whatever happens to be lying around. Potions already exist as a consumable that creates such tactical decisions, and duplicating that would do little but stress a player's inventory slots.

Blood sausage, needed or not, is different, as it's not adding extra features, but giving a race access to permafood. Royal jelly curing stats like a potion is needed to counteract heavy lategame statdrain where potions are often destroyed (I find the current full-heal “ideal”), but otherwise, food should predominantly stay as food. These little because-we-can add-ons seem very much superfluous. — OG17 2010-09-05 22:01

I dislike the idea of making food “interesting” in this way. Food should be about providing nutrition. If food is too boring, I suggest making it more interesting by descriptions, eating messages, etc. The suggestions here are likely to either be overpowered or irrelevant, and reduce differentiation between potions and food. Note also that food is not subject to item destruction. That said, I wouldn't object to one or two “effect” food items if people come up with interesting and thematic effects. — rob 2010-09-05 22:03

Agreed. It's not as though we need some way to encourage people to eat food items - the game does a fine job of this on its own. In particular, I'm not convinced that having royal jelly restore a single stat point (rather than acting as a potion of restore abilities) is underpowered, considering that royal jellies are already unambiguously the best food in the game, just considering nutrition/weight/eating time. If we give effects to food, they should be very minor (preferably mostly for flavor than for any kind of useful effect). — doy 2010-09-05 22:25
As far as I am concerned, it is an absolutely valid option to treat permafood as nothing but nutrition. But I have fought two bitter wars against the variety of food items, first against the fruits and then against the pizzas, and I lost both. (I believe that the only reason to have so many “different” food items is that it's so easy to add them — so coders, perhaps misguided by Nethack, fell into the trap of just adding all these items for the sake of making the game more “diverse”.)
One (minor) reason of me pushing the plant god so much was that some food items would get a bit more meaning (this includes food shops and food acquirements, of course). I agree that the current royal jellies are quite thoughtlessly designed: they are strictly better than potions of restore abilities (with the very minor caveat that you cannot eat at Engorged) and on top of that the strictly best food item. Thus, I also relate to simply removing their special ability — but then we'd have two bee-related food items, only differing in numbers. This is not flavour to me, but just silly (compare with monsters). So the more conceptual solution would be to remove either honeycombs or royal jellies as items. But since I've seen so much resistance to remove something like a pizza or a snozzcumber, I think it is better to invest some thought into the matter and come up with cool ideas. Yes, that is a kind of luxury and not really needed. But if done, it could provide some gentle bit of real flavour. I like eronarn's stomach rule a lot and I feel that having minor effects on food is spot on.
That said, I don't see any need for a radical food reform: the topic is much larger in scale and importance than any of spells, miscellaneous items, gods etc. Changing the royal jellies to work something like suggested above (and seeing how it turns out) would be a very reasonable step, in my opinion. — dpeg 2010-09-05 22:41

Here are some general ideas — galehar 2010-09-07 10:23

  • Delay: any special effect kicks in after 5+1d10 turns.
  • Duration: food items have an effect as long as you digesting it. So it will be shorter if you have a fast metabolism and longer if you have a slow one. This means you can use a ring of hunger to get rid of a bad effect faster or a ring of sustenance to lengthen a good effect. It could be simply (nutritional value/hunger). That would give the royal jelly a 1666 duration for normal hunger which is maybe a bit much. We can also reduce the royal jelly nutritional value.
  • royal jelly: first effect is to provide some restore ability (after the delay). Maybe heal 1d3 stats by 1d3. Never target a stat that doesn't need restoration. Gives sustain abilities for the duration of the effect. So it isn't very useful against severe stat drain that burdens you or put you at risk of stat death and that you want to heal fast (use the potion). But it's still reliable for curing 1 or 2 point of a stat, and it's the perfect diet if you get the deteriorating body mutation.

And here is a design for mushrooms — galehar 2010-09-07 10:23

  • About 5 different mushrooms with randomized appearance. They all have very good positive effects but also some drawbacks. Base duration (with normal hunger) is 2 or 3 times the duration of a potion of might.
  • One is just bad: a psylo which gives an hallucination effect like Mara's mislead :)
  • The bad effect is thematic, but sometimes, you get a second one that's chosen randomly from a list (mutation, rotting, poison, confusion, map rot…). This is to make it not so easy to avoid the bad effects (put stasis and sustain abilities, and eat mushroom C). Some effects from the list are incompatible with some mushrooms (poison and mushroom C for example).
  • The mushroom secondary effect is unreliable, sometimes it kicks in at the same time as the good effect, sometimes 10+1d10 after, sometimes it doesn't appear at all, and sometimes it's a bit worse (you vomit, get an effect from the list, and good effect duration is shortened). Probability is 4/10:immediate, 4/10:delayed, 1/10:no bad effect, 1/10:worse bad effect.
  • mushroom A gives the combined effect of potions of might and agility, but it drains 1d6 intelligence.
  • magic mushroom have the effect of a potion of brilliance, gives +50% MP and a lot of MR, but also a lot of glow (2+1d3, so 1/3 to get yellow glow, and almost certain if you use this with haste). When the effect ends, MP is drained to 0 (magic berserk!)
  • mushroom C cure poison, gives rP but drains 1d3 dexterity and slows you.

Current system where you can't eat most food until you're hungry is incredibly frustrating and should just die. Also, having so many hard limits in the game (i.e. you can't reduce your food consumption below 1) makes the game incredibly boring - SinsI 2010-10-10 21:22

Eating Speed

Related topic : Interrupted Activities Reform

I don't see a lot of discussion of the speed of consumption which is noted here and needs to be discussed in relation to food. Eating a honeycomb, or (especially) quaffing a potion of porridge is much quicker than eating a bread (though the potion cannot be consumed while berserk). Eating speeds should be affected by the item being consumed, the race of the character (which determines how much % of the item is consumed on a per-turn basis), and any effects against the character; I'd love to see a list of turns it currently takes to eat each type of food. Big Mouth mutation allows for faster eating, etc. If food consumption interruption can take place, food can be partially eaten, the amount of which would relate to the amount able to be eaten plus the nutrition available per bite. — XuaXua 2011-04-04 21:29

Different races could eat differently. It could take a Spriggan 4 turns to consume an item of food that would take a human 2 turns and a troll or ogre only 1 (or half) a turn. — XuaXua 2011-04-05 04:31

Salt (by Ferociousdragon)

Sometimes, you should be able to find salt piles on the floor. White salt would always be generic salt, as well as the most common. This salt would be applied to fresh food to greatly increase its longetivity. Colored salts, however, could cause mysterious effects when applied to food, such as immediately spoiling it, poisoning it, making it mutinagenic, or cause it to come to life (angering the good gods and Fedhas if done deliberately). Additional effects could include causing it to become magical, causing it to become anti-magical, or best of all, causihng it to ignite and cause damage until it quickly becomes ash or is thrown out. Imagine killing monsters with a piece of their comrades flesh! Perhaps it can also become a weapon of food (like a hip ax) that is strong in the early game, but soon rots into unusability. Or maybe it can just change the meat's color. Maybe demons can be a source of salt for Zin worshippers in the late game as recite tends to turn them into salt pillars. Any way, being able to make food last longer or give it useful properties with good salts, as well as having to watch out for bad salts, is a pretty interesting way to expand on food in DCSS.

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dcss/brainstorm/item/food.txt · Last modified: 2015-03-05 05:03 by Ferociousdragon
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