Rods

Name dcss:brainstorm:item: Rods
Summary New implementation of magical rods
Further information
Added by b0rsuk
Added on 2010-02-24 17:18

General Feedback

Wand Reform

I think there's consensus current implementation of rods leaves a lot to be desired. Before, they were arguably overpowered. Once found, you could cast the spells hungerless, at the same cost as a spellcaster could, and without really training any skill (Evocations continues to have negligible effect on wands and rods). Currently, rods have their own MP pool which recharges slowly, and Evocation no longer boosts character's MP. Rods are more balanced… but still boring.

Wands like Scroll Spells

was Mission Red Planet style rods

  1. Casting a spell from a rod costs nothing, but each spell can be used only once.
  2. Recharging the rod requires a special action with a fixed cost. I propose 12 MP and 2 “turns” of time. Once completed, the spells can be used again.
  3. A rod may not contain two identical spells
  4. Each rod has maximum capacity for spell levels (usually a number between 8 and 15).
  5. High Evocation skill allows player character to remove spells from a rod… and put in their own, if they have a book. This would be done similar to Memorising. Evocations 4 allows to merodize level1 spells of any school. Evocations 8 - level2, 12 - 3, 16 - 4, and finally, Evocations 20 allows to put in level 5 spells.
  6. Evocation skill significantly affects spell power of spells. Level 27 results in spell power a bit lower than that of a master spellcaster (2/3 max for now, that would be… 133 ?)

Implications

  • Completely different usage patterns than with regular spellcasting.
  • Rods would be about best (available) combinations, not best single spells.
  • Casting a single spell over and over becomes very expensive. Regular spellcasters can still do that, so even low level spellcaster has important advantage. Additionally, reagent spells can't be used.
  • Player has to choose between “carrying” a situational spell, and the risk of being caught unprepared. Is it better to “carry” Blink, or use the levels for an offensive spell ? With spellcasting, spending a few spell levels here or there doesn't matter, you'll be able to memorise everything and you won't pay any price.
  • Especially in absence of great spells, player is encouraged to experiment with alternatives.
  • It's a dead end of sorts, and in endgame player will have to compensate with variety for lack of sheer power. No level6 means no Haste, Bolt of Cold/Fire, Statue Form, Deflect Missiles.
  • Emphasises MP differences between characters. I can imagine Rings of Power becoming more valuable.

Feedback

Is there any ?

Sure is. It's a very interesting idea to make rods something like scroll-spells. There is one immediate advantage that I see: I'd like to keep the rod of divination (alone for the name!) but of course I don't want players to spam all those obsolete Divination spells in this way. Single use of rod spells would solve this perfectly.
I am not happy about the (unspecified) reloading mechanic. One of the current annoyances is the bad interface: you press 5 like a madman only to charge up the rod. It would indeed be better to press one key and spend the two turns and the 12 MP, but I feel that there should be a smoother solution. (Also note that the current, clumsy rod recharging interface was introduced to get rid of rod swapping; your proposal would re-allow swapping.)
Loading rods from books: that's great fun, of course, especially as it turns books into a useful resource (in a different way than Trog does). However, I dislike the fixed Evocations ←→ spell level mapping. Here is my proposal: if you wield a rod (with a free slot), you can try to Memorise a spell (which will go into the rod rather than in your memory, if successful). Chance depends on spell level and Evocations skill, but in a random and smooth fashion — the book crumbles in any case! I agree with a hard limit on spell levels; the success can be made random because the book will disappear after the attempt.
I agree that Evocations should have an effect on spell power; the proportion in your proposal seems right.
Some random remarks: I would like it if players were trying to use few, strong rods rather than many with few charges. So it should be still possible to read a scroll of recharing on rods. Having more charges should be noticeably good for something (e.g. increase chances for loading a spell; or decrease chances to lose a spell upon using etc.)
dpeg 2010-02-24 20:48
I'm not convinced rod swapping is a problem - rods are quite rare and it's uncommon to have two or more of them early. But if it is, this proposal can be easily modified. Make it so all rods are out of charges by default, and lose charges if unwielded. To use any rod you'd have to wield it and recharge it first.
Rods of Striking, Smiting are too much like wands for my taste. I'd rather rename the rods to “infinite wands” or something similar. I don't think the game becomes more varied with more unremarkable items/spells/monsters.
Clear cut limits for memorising spells may indeed be not the best idea, but 1 book for a chance of memorising a spell seems pretty harsh and would discourage experimenting. Instead of loading a different combination when going from Snake Pit to Shoals you'd likely keep the same, because books are relatively rare. Maybe permanently damage the book instead ? Tear a page out, so it no longer contains that spell, making it impossible to memorise again from that book ? Tearing a page out would make it less of a “all or nothing” — b0rsuk 2010-02-25 05:33
If spellbooks are used up when trying to memorise a spell, what to do with randart books ?
We can keep (some of the) current rods, while introducing new kinds of evokables such as rods as these. I quite like how rods of striking work, especially now you can use them as clubs. — evktalo 2010-02-24 23:18

Rod Plusses

256: Rods have been made more functional as weapons, which is a good thing. But now the +X nomenclature for showing a rod's recharge rate collides with the existing convention for showing the slaying bonuses of a weapon.

I remember once finding a +8 rod of venom on dlvl 2 and assuming that it was an awesome early game melee weapon in addition to being an awesome evokable.

The obvious solution is to switch to some other nomenclature: “a 3* rod of venom (14/14)” for example.

There is another option though:

Tie recharge rate directly to max MP and allow scrolls of enchant weapons to work on rods. The core of the proposal would be to make it so that using a scroll of recharging on a rod would increment its max MP by one as it does now and thus ALSO increase its recharge rate since recharge rate is now a function of max MP. In other words, all rods of venom (14/14) have the same recharge rate. This would eliminate the need to have the additional +X information, thus opening that space up for tradition slaying bonus info.

I think that this is a significant perk gameplay wise. Partly because many players likely assume that scrolls of enchant weapon would work on a rod. And partly because rods are still pretty underpowered as weapons. By the time a player is likely to have access to rods, hitting something with a +0/+0 mace is not much different from hitting it with a meat ration. And certainly rods should be inferior as melee weapons when compared with GOOD weapons, but it's not a problem for them to be strictly better than an unbranded mace.

There's no reason to let players specifically improve rod melee potential. It's always going to be terrible (it's a club, not mace), and they'd rightfully assume that the bonus has something to do with something relevant to the rod. I like the idea of losing that enchantment entirely, though, and just tying recharge rate and whatever to max charges, though it might be hard to do that while keeping the current value of a recharge scroll (ie +9 vs +17).
Alternatively, it wouldn't actually hurt to let the current bonus act as an equivalent melee bonus (if it doesn't already), or to just describe the difference in the description. Using EW scrolls as recharge scrolls on rods might be fine, too. og17
Not really different than a +1, +4 ring of slaying or whatever, is it? Sure you wield it like a weapon, but it's pretty clear that they're different things. tgw
Everyone is right! The pluses are confusing (both as melee bonuses and EW usage (I was confused about the scrolls myself) and rods are terrible melee weapons. Them being terrible doesn't matter as much, as players can figure it out hopefully. And yeah, pluses mean different things for different items (ammunition)..
Right now you can *find* a rod with high recharge rate and low MP, or vice versa, which is theoretically nice. — evktalo 2010-09-09 16:33
The difference between the rod and the ring of slaying (or even armour for that matter) is that the rod is the only case where it is not intuitive what the plus means. The fact that you wield it like a weapon is key. I think that the most natural assumption for an unspoiled player would be that the +6 on a rod means the same thing as the +6 on a mace. This can lead to players using rods as their primary weapon under the belief that it has a large slaying bonus. It can also lead to a wasting of EW scrolls and subsequent confusion with the “nothing appears to happen” message. The key problem here is that a decision needs to be made as to whether rods are weapons or not. If they aren't, then the “This weapon uses the Maces and Flails skill” message needs to be taken away and an “Are you sure you want to attack with your Rod of Venom?” warning needs to be implemented. If they are weapons, then they shouldn't use the +X nomenclature. I think that rods could benefit from being valid targets for EW scrolls, just to make life that little bit nicer for the bold player who decides to go straight evocations as their playstyle. But even if that change isn't implemented, I think that some nomenclature other than +X needs to be used to indicate recharge rate and also that “This item's efficacy as a melee weapon can't be changed by magical or mundane means” should be added to the item description so as to explain the fact that EW scrolls don't work. Incidentally, I think that the same applies to magical staves, it's just not as urgent because they don't use +X. — 256 2010-09-09 16:59
What 256 said, ++. Existing in-game description is *extremely* counter-intuitive. — jeffqyzt

Rod Interface

Rod MP is as important as normal MP for a rodslinger, but there are no visual cues for low rod MP like there are for normal MP.

Proposed change: red/yellow/green coloring for rod MP.

Existing Rods

Rod of Striking

Recharge in Melee

from tgw and eronarn, in 310.

Rods of striking should recharge every time you hit something in melee with them. It's a needed buff, and now that rods can be used as clubs it fits. If it's too powerful we can reduce the number of starting charges.

This might make striking a more competitive Ar starting choice for the first few dungeon levels, but if you want the rod to be actually be viable, it should just have its damage scale with evocations skill. No one's going to use a terrible melee weapon in order to fuel terrible projectile charges. And ignoring that it's terrible, this'd encourage using a summon/rat/plant as a battery. — og17 2011-02-22 00:24

Make them more like Wizard Staves

Make rods of striking viable longer by making them more like Wizard staves. Could we allow rods of striking to function similarly to wizard staves, with a damage bonus based on Evocation skill? This would make them viable melee weapons for those with the appropriate magical skills, without making them much different for anyone else. Note that if you wanted the mechanics to be slightly different than staves for some reason, you could use a charge upon a successful strike. This could also still be combined with the other suggestions on this page. — jeffqyzt 2011-2-21 12:22

Not only is is this inconsistent with every other rod and stave, but an evocations character is already able to invest in an actual elemental stave to do the same thing, so what's the point? If striking melee only needs pure evocations skill (and provides non-elemental damage, at that), there's little reason to use anything else. Alternatively, if it's significantly weaker than elemental staves, there's little reason to use it at all, and an actual weapon is likely going to be better during any in-between period. — og17 2011-02-22 00:24
A few points in response. — jeffqyzt 2011-2-22 11:28
  • As far as being inconsistent - I fail to see how this is more inconsistent than Staves of Earth getting damage bonuses when Staves of Summoning and regular quarterstaves don't. It might make sense to provide this for some or all of the other damage dealing rods, though (especially Smiting.) Striking seems natural, though.
    • “Some staves do damage” vs “things that aren't staves are acting like staves?” The two items are comfortably distinguished. — og17 2011-02-22 19:27
  • If you don't want it to be as powerful as staves (good point, since it's one-handed), fine. Cut the bonus effect in half (or whatever other formula seems reasonable.) Similar does not mean identical.
    • However, other potential trade-off ideas (such as requiring use of charges to power the bonus effect) could alternately be used to balance.
      • This is an interface problem in itself, you'd be constantly switching with a weapon or with multiple rods. — og17 2011-02-22 18:47
  • As far as not requiring a complementary skill - again, if it's a weaker effect or has other trade-offs, this can be a balanced.
  • Eventually switching to an elemental staff is a reasonable upgrade path, but artificers can choose to start with a rod of striking and it will be a long time before they can reasonably expect to find their first elemental staff. It would be nice to give them the option of sticking with the rod until then (or beyond.)
    • The answer to this is to make striking's projectiles useful, not to give it some confused gimmick. Rods are like wands while enhancer staves are melee weapons - there's no reason to mix them together, and even less reason to do so with low-skill characters in mind. Starting out with mundane weapons is fine, too, as shown by every staff-using character to date. Also, a starting melee weapon being useful “beyond a long time” would be a problem in itself - tridents are bad enough as it is. — og17 2011-02-22 19:27

New Rod Proposals

Rod of Translocation

I propose to add a rod of translocation: Apportation, Blink, Recall, and Teleport Other. Right now, Apportation and Blink are ridiculously popular; putting them in a rod could offset that slightly. (Inspired by danr's wand of apportation idea.) — minmay 2011-02-22

It's possible that someone'd use this rod instead of actually learning the spells (though unlikely, given the spells' levels), but you're getting the spells either way. A rod makes them even more accessible, which is a strange reaction to a strange objection. — og17 2011-02-22 19:27
The idea is to at least provide SOME choice, so if you happen to find the rod you might have to decide between “use rod” and “learn spell,” rather than just “learn spell.” — minmay 2011-02-23 00:39
What about “not learn spell?” Making these spells available to noncasters isn't exactly a good way to address their popularity with casters. And casting a low-level utility spell from a rod does nothing to make the spell itself less common, but only moves it from the spell list to the inventory - the “choice” is all but pointless, never mind that you're likely going to find the rod long after you find the books anyway. There's also absolutely nothing innately wrong with something being widely used in the first place, least of all low-level utility tools. — og17 2011-02-23 02:05
It'd be a cheap way to escape silence, too. — og17 2011-02-23 02:15
Didn't think of silence. I must disagree: there is something wrong with a spell being learned by everyone who can cast it. It is indeed a better solution to change the spells themselves. — minmay 2011-02-23 02:54

Rod of Magic Darts

The rod of striking is considered pretty terrible right now, so replace it with a rod of magic darts and remove the wand of magic darts. The wand is less powerful than other wands, after all. This is of course a buff to artificers, but they still won't be able to magic dart spam as well as wizards or conjurers. — minmay 2011-03-19 13:57

There's plenty of room to improve striking without replacing it with a preexisting spell effect. Artificers don't need to start life identically to wizards and conjurers. — og17 2011-03-21 13:11

Rod of Asclepius

Can be a rarer standard rod or a fixedArt. It's essentially a rare evocable source of permanent healing. It's great to combo with Elyvilon or be the only source of lategame healing; but should be rare enough to not be something a player can plan on getting. [Horde/Elf/Hell vault level acquirement.]

The Rod of Asclepius is depicted like the real mythological artifact: http://drblayney.com/images/onesnake.jpg

Contains:

  • Greater Curing (4): Heals all status problems. Restores 8 + 1d[Evocations] HP.
  • Masterful Healing (6): Heals 12 + 3d[Evocations]/3 HP. Can pacify if you are with Elyvilon.
  • Resurrection (9): Target corpse is returned to the living [NOT Undead].

bcadren 2014-03-05 10:26

Rod of Snake

Created as a party favor, though some people actually find it helpful. Always spawns (2/2) +2

Contains:

  • Sticks to Snakes (2): Unlike a normal casting of this spell it returns back to being a rod after the snake dies.

bcadren 2014-03-05 10:26

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dcss/brainstorm/item/magical/rods.txt · Last modified: 2014-06-23 03:34 by chris
 
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