Earth School Reform

Name dcss:brainstorm:magic: earth
Summary Earth magic overhaul.
Related to Lee's Rapid Deconstruction
Added by evktalo (not the author)
Added on 2010-09-14 16:41

Right now, earth magic is recognized as the weakest elemental discipline for several reasons:

  • book of geomancy's best spell, summon elemental, is not castable with earth magic.
  • summon elemental is essential for earth magic's crowd control, esp. b/c LRD is most powerful when used on earth elementals, compounding the school's issues.
  • Book of geomancy has two duds: stone arrow has the lowest damage:spell power ratio of any conjuration and stoneskin gives a pathetic +5 AC for mid-level earth mages.
  • in late game, LCS and iron shot have terrible range and shatter is nearly impossible to cast.

There's Freeze (Which is great, it could be level2 spell), Sandblast and Flame Tongue. — b0rsuk 2010-09-15 23:37

  • Orb of Destruction and Poison Arrow have superior range to earth magic's direct damage spells and superior accuracy in most cases.
1) I think it's okay that an elemental school is not all about Conjurations. As long as Earth has strong spells (Shatter, Statue Form, LRD) then lack of strong single target ranged spells shouldn't be a concern. I like the notion of a more melee-oriented magic school.

2) Actually I don't like the Elemental/LRD combo. Without Elemental, LRD is interesting because it makes player cling to walls, a behaviour I like to see in Earth mages.

3) Stoneskin being too weak… true as long as it's your only means of defense. But in late game players can cast multiple protection spells which add up to very high numbers. Crawl currently lacks a way to deal with it, especially that spell level/MP cost doesn't cut it. Stoneskin could be changed to add lots if you don't have other forms of protection, and add little if your AC is already high or wear heavy armour.
Here's an idea: what if Stoneskin gave extra GDR? — Minced
Another idea: stoneskin gives greater bonus if your AC is low. An example from Dominions 3: Barskin spell grants protection of 10 (and fire weakness) if protection is below 10. Otherwise, it gives +2 protection. — b0rsuk 2010-09-15 23:37

4) I like lower range, it makes you play differently. The spells are perhaps not balanced relative to others, though. Has it ever occured to you that Earth and Air conjurations are ones that gain the most from TSO's Halo ?

Yes, it increases accuracy of spells, including Bolt of Inaccuracy. — b0rsuk 2010-08-22 09:38 The other elemental schools have *focus*: fire magic is for straight-up conjurers, ice magic works well for reavers thanks to ozo's armour, air magic works very well for medium-armour fighters who want powerful buffs.

I like lower range too, since it meshes so well with terrain control! I'm hoping to suggest changes that balance earth magic by catering to its strengths, rather than attempting to make it synonymous with fire/ice magic. — Minced

Earth without conjurations

It would be interesting to change all earth conjurations to transmutations, reflavoring them as bursting from the ground from the player's position. This would make all directly-damaging earth spells tmut and/or earth, which is certainly in line with every other school - having to juggle tmut and conjurations is earth's basic problem. The only loss would be non-tmut casters not being able to pick up iron shot or LCS (or bolt of magma), which really isn't much loss at all, considering the already-available conjuration spells that could be used instead.

Use of these ex-conjurations when over water and lava is up in the air. The spells could be unusable (greatly thematic, distinct school weakness), the spells could be weaker from travelling through liquid (less thematic, more useful), lava could give the effect a fire component (complicated, gamey), or there could be no difference (weak flavor). — og17 2010-09-16 04:50

What if earth magic conjurations didn't work/were weaker for *flying* conjurers? — Minced
That could definitely work too, but I thought it'd only really make sense for uncontrolled levitation (as cFly could temporarily land/contact the ground while casting), which would make it a lot less interesting. It's also less of a limitation and more of a straight nerf, given flight's usefulness. — og17 2010-09-18 08:24
Flight could have the effect of making earth spells take more time to cast due to having to land first. — mumra 2011-09-04 16:22

The Strengths of Earth Magic

After playing many earth mages, it seems to me that their niche is using summoning together with close-range attacks. Statue form, iron shot, the staff of earth, and sandblast are all powerful close-range, single-target attacks that are great for a large, slow baddie but abysmal against hordes of wisps or bees, or against ranged attackers such as yaktaurs.

But there are ways of dealing with these challenges. Statue Form grants AC and poison resistance which is great against bees. LRD kills several bees per cast, adding Statue Form is an overkill. I agree yaktaurs are a problem. In general, I like to think that Earth magic is closer than Ice/Fire to having an identity. — b0rsuk 2010-08-22 09:38

In other words, summoners need terrain control for their close-range attacks to be effective. With the added terrain control from summons, earth magic shines! LRD's smite targeting is great to use on earth elementals engaging the enemy. Iron shot allows a conjurer to focus on one big nasty while summons mop up the rest. You get the picture.

Also notable is the synergy between earth magic and stabbing exemplified by the petrify and passwall spells. The Stalker page attempts to create a new stalker book based around transmutations and earth. Since stabbing works very well with close-range attacks and allies, adding more earth spells would help give the trans/earth-based stalkers some new midgame options.

What Earth Magic Needs: more terrain control

It just makes sense for earth magicians to want to establish battlefield control: a rocky dungeon should be an earth mage's playground! With that in mind, here's an overhaul of earth magic's battlefield control.

I totally agree about terrain control. What's important, it's a pretty good definition of Earth's identity, and would serve as a good skeleton framework for evaluating existing or future spells. Spells that make rock translucent, interact with environment. — b0rsuk 2010-08-22 09:38
Suggestion about translucent walls has been implemented as a spell. – Minced

Changes to Existing Spells

As noted by OG17, some of earth magic's spells are simply too weak right now. In particular, Lee's Rapid Deconstruction and Stone Arrow have very low damage output. Whether earth magic drops its conjuration side or not, these spells clearly need a boost.


Sandblast often does no damage against early enemies with any AC, which leaves you taking damage as your remaining castings also do nothing (or miss or miscast). The class also has no early escape or CC options past passwall, which doesn't do much for a caster in combat, while stoneskin is weak and a new EE isn't a tank regardless - this doesn't really make for a pleasant start.

The learndb says for sandblast, “damage reduction from enemy AC is applied twice instead of once.” This should be removed if true, as though “high-powered spell does lots of damage on soft targets but is weak against armored enemies” is an interesting idea, it's no good as a low-powered character's starting spell. This change might be enough in itself, but if not, additional options could be to give the spell a mimimum amount of guaranteed damage regardless of AC, have it not miss, have it knock back an adjacent target, etc - it's fine to lose the high-power damage aspect if needed, as that's not relevant to the characters that rely on the spell. — og17 2010-12-05 19:42

While I haven't played EEs myself, I really like the soft-target thing, after I read a player testimony about enjoying it. It's a drawback you have to cover for. So design-wise, the spell looks good to me - it's not weak, it just has a good drawback. I'd rather tweak the plain weak spells to cover for the drawback. — evktalo 2010-12-06 10:29
It's good that one guy liked it, but again, you can't “cover for” a starting spell - it's a good design and drawback for a later ability. And sandblast is indeed weak - playing the class demonstrates that it'd remain one of the weakest starting spells even without being specifically weak against hard targets. — og17 2010-12-06 14:20
You're saying that it's no good as a starting spell because it's useless against enemies with any AC. But which enemy has any AC in the first levels? I think sandblast is all right and the problem is more that the book of geomancy lacks a more versatile 2nd level spell. — galehar 2010-12-06 14:53
giant cockroach — tgw 2010-12-06 21:23
Apparently the source was checked and sandblast checks AC a full three times, hurray! So does LRD, which is strangely enough also useless against AC. — og17 2010-12-18 08:46

I dislike the interface that comes with Sandblast: It's so much less fun than to just throw them. It's a terrible hassle to equip stones and unequip them, which is neither fun nor makes sense: Why can't you cast it with stones from your inventory, when you can just throw them perfectly fine (isn't the quiver function there to make throwing stones more comfortable?) I think Sandblast should always use quivered stones, they are plentiful enough, and should have a chance of destroying them roughly equal to throwing them. — t0d 2011-05-24 12:33

Lee's Rapid Deconstruction earth/trans 4 (overhaul)

Weaknesses of LRD

The two major problems with LRD are :

  • low damage output
  • requires high power to destroy even rock walls, making secondary effects unattractive.

However, giving LRD high damage would break the spell due to its huge range and smite targeting, so something beyond increasing damage is necessary to fix the spell.

LRD damage overhaul

I propose giving LRD low overall damage (on par with airstrike), but *increasing* its damage against high-AC targets. This proposal would only affect the damage done to LRD's target, not splash damage from fragments, allowing LRD users to do weak AOE damage or strong single-target damage. To balance the spell, range could be decreased to be on par with other earth spells.

While it is thematic for earth magic to be weaker versus high-AC enemies, LRD disrupts matter rather than using projectiles, so the damage change has some context. Furthermore, with mana cost 5 and low damage, LRD is not suitable for a primary attack spell even with the changes. The intention is to give earth elementalists a last-ditch attack versus strong, armoured enemies.


LRD with resonance

Here's an alternative implementation with some decent flavor: successive castings of LRD on the same wall or monster deal progressively greater damage because the spell works by inducing resonance.

The spell would induce a “resonance” status effect that fades very quickly. At resonance 0, LRD deals slightly less damage than it does now, but at resonance 4, LRD could deal double damage and have a much greater chance of breaking walls. Since the spell requires repeated castings to be effective, its MP cost would be reduced to 4. — Minced

Resonance should probably be a general status effeect rather than attached to the particular wall–first it's probably easier to implement and less for the game to remember (the spell can be cast on both walls or certain creatures, and do we really want walls to have status effects?), but second because if it's per wall you'd lose it when you break the wall–which is more likely at high spell power, which is rather unintuitive. Just make each successive casting of LRD within a short timeframe more effective; as a side note this would make digging to bubbles less tedius when dig is removed, provided you have enough MP for 4-5 castings in a row. — brickman 2010-11-08 00:36

LRD with additional effects

Although this spell is already a swiss army knife, I wouldn't mind adding more effects:

  • Generate large rocks upon destruction of rock walls (see the proposed Pet Rock spell),
  • Generate dust clouds upon usage.

Generating large rocks isn't as overpowered for large races as it sounds, since standing close enough to a LRD explosion to retrieve the rocks quickly is rather painful. And honestly, if a large race is enamored enough with the effect to learn a level 5 spell that isn't an enchantment, that's probably good too.

LRD is an instant explosion - it's only “painful” if you're standing next to the wall, and why do that? This is flat-out giving players a spell to create endless amounts of large rocks, whether that's a problem or not. Smoke's no good, as above. — og17 2010-09-16 04:35

LRD shrapnel needs to do more (or perhaps more consistent) damage. Even considering AOE, it's inefficient for a level 5 spell, particularly against anything with AC. The utility of (slowly) breaking walls is besides the point, as is its direct effectiveness against “hard” enemies - this (and current magma) are the only non-shatter multi-target spells available to earth, and though its targetting restrictions make it an interesting and thematic ability, its damage doesn't let it fill that role. (Note that this is much less of an issue if earth conjurations become transmutations, as then a weak LRD doesn't force tmut/earth casters into additional schools/allies) — og17 2010-09-16 04:35

LRD seems to check AC three times, as does sandblast? That's bad. — og17 2010-12-18 08:46

Summon Elemental (summoning 4) -> Animate Earth earth/transmutations 3

It's summon elemental with a different name that makes it clear it only summons earth elementals. It's also markedly easier to cast for earth elementalists.

By going from 4 to 3 summoning and 5 to 3 earth? The elemental spells should be split, yes, but this wouldn't address the current issues - you're still left needing summoning skill out of nowhere and 5 earth was never a problem to begin with. These spells could just work off of tmut instead of summoning, which would additionally give tmut a nice bit of extra utility for other casters. — og17 2010-09-16 04:35
Changed to earth/trans 3. Minced

Statue Form and Stoneskin

The connection between these spells is tenuous at best - why should a “statue” have skin? Statue form should give guaranteed damage reduction or more AC and drop its connection to stoneskin. Stoneskin is simply inferior to Ozokubu's armour and should be buffed.

The connection between the 2 spells was probably invented by the same person who made Flight+Swiftness combo. To make Flight/Stoneskin “useful”. Off with his head ! — b0rsuk 2010-09-17 08:38
There's nothing actually wrong with this - statue form makes you a statue, stoneskin makes it harder. Whatever. I like the earlier idea of giving stoneskin a touch of GDR, though statue form could indeed use some of its own. — og17 2010-09-17 22:11
It's a nice combo, but I'd like to see statue form gain utility among transmuters who aren't dedicated earth elementalists (and therefore won't have stoneskin). The AC of plain old statue form just doesn't seem high enough to counteract the form's evasion and speed loss. — Minced
Anyone that's using statue form can almost certainly trivially cast stoneskin for a decent boost, which I think would be the real reason to build its bonus into the form. I don't think it's really a problem, but it is an extra button that doesn't need to stand on its own. I'd keep earth skill relevant defensively, though, as it is now. — og17 2010-09-18 08:24

Statue form should be hungerless and breathless. This is largely for theme, as an offensive caster wouldn't consider using it over lichform, what with being permaslowed, torment-vulnerable, and losing shield/glove/boot slots. Even shatterers would find a staff of energy to be a much more attractive alternative, as would any good-god following casters. It'd be a perk for characters that would be fighting in statue form anyway, but that sort of boost is welcome, as there's little demand for the form to begin with - transmuters that want to use an all-in high-damage melee form would likely favor dragon form, and more moderate characters would stick with blade hands.

I don't know if being breathless would actually affect anything in trunk (for all I know, they're already breathless) - the form shouldn't be able to cross water any more than undead can, of course, it's mostly flavor again. Statues are made of stone, the things don't need to eat or breathe. I'd still allow potions, though, as those are magical and the form isn't looking for nerfs. — og17 2010-11-30 21:19

Stone Arrow

Throw flame and throw frost are at least interesting because of their elemental damage. Stone arrow is just boring. Here are two possible changes:

  • Make the spell trans/earth 2 - if someone wants to branch into transmutations b/c stone arrow is nice for a level 2 spell, good for them.
  • Make the arrow shatter on impact, causing a bit of splash damage to nearby targets (in particular, YOU at range 1 ).

The spell is actually still weaker than throw flame at level 2, since throw flame ignores AC and has better range with similar damage (2d12 for stone arrow, 2d9 for throw flame).


Dig is an unlimited, cheap way to modify the dungeon. This is considered by some to be a problem. On the other hand, it has become an important tool for the new stalker class. It's needed to create passwall opportunities. Here is how it could be fixed without breaking the new stalker:

  • Replace dig with a spell named melt rock. It is silent, but remove only a single adjacent square of rock wall by melting it. Probably reduce its level to 3. It should still be useful to stalkers, but almost useless in slime.
  • The wand of digging works the same as now, but is noisy (at least 6). Maybe changed the grinding message by a drilling one.

galehar 2010-09-28 22:11

Regarding the “Melt Rock” spell, this would make optimal play tedious in non-threatening areas, like for getting to bubbles in Orc without using wand charges (the change would be more interesting in threatening areas like Slime, though). — mrmistermonkey 2010-09-28 22:34
Well I don't see how it could be avoided. If we want to get rid of the dig spell, you'll have to use other means for reaching distant bubbles. To compensate, we could make the wand of digging slightly more common, and/or with more charges. Or make it more common only in orc and slimes, where there are bubbles. — galehar 2010-09-29 10:10
I like the principal idea of galehar. There is the problem with the interface. It is slightly mitigated by the fact that targeting would be directional, i.e. you'd press just one direction key after casting the spell (opposed to the current targeting interface). Of course, digging long tunnels would still be cumbersome. I believe that there's a good solution for that, too. Some random ideas:
First, a spell melting rocks should be Fire/Earth. Next, melting more than two adjacent rocks (i.e. three times in a row) could lead to melting of further rocks. This would lead to irregular patterns instead of tunnels, which (a) looks better and (b) is tactically more interesting.
Another idea is that the spell automatically moves to the free spot and keeps melting (like a built-in macro), unless the player is interrupted. But I like the first idea better. — dpeg 2010-09-28 22:38
What's a stalker supposed to do with uncontrolled digging? It's hard to stay undetected if the spell turns your wall into a doorway. And fire/earth is uncalled for mechanically (and why would it be earth at all?); the flavor I had above for earth/tmut is better anyway, where the rock sinks into the ground instead of liquifies. (e: not that a solid turning into a liquid isn't obviously up tmut/earth's alley or anything, I just like mine better.) — og17 2010-09-28 22:52
I think it's a misconception that Dig is the Stalker's stalking tool. Passwall is.
And dig creates passwall opportunities. The one makes the other much more usable. — og17 2010-09-29 00:06
What's wrong with Dig, again? Secondhand slime concerns and flavor that was just fixed? — og17 2010-09-28 22:46
An unlimited, cheap way to modify the dungeon. This is not a problem with the wand, only with the spell. (And yes, other spells have this problem, too. But Dig does nothing but modify the dungeon.) Also, why would you learn Dig? As a tactical option, the wand is enough. (Okay, you might replace the wand's weight with the spell's slots, but that is minor.) Strategical use (i.e. digging many tunnels without danger) is something not really fit for a spell.
This is why we think Dig should be finite, not infinite. — dpeg 2010-09-28 23:54
So why is this a problem? Not sure what's inherently undesirable about a spell affecting terrain or having some aspect of strategy - most translocations would fall under the latter. Digging is not only a general convenience, but interesting defensively and offensively, and there seems to be little reason to throw that away. — og17 2010-09-29 00:06
If we want to replace dig with melt rock in the stalker's starting book, we have to keep the tmut school. How about making it a level 3 tmut/earth/fire? Currently, there's no spell that relies only on 2 different elemental schools. That would be weird. To make it a bit more usable for digging tunnels, it could affect between 1 and 4 squares depending on power. You still need to be in contact with the first square, and it uses directional targeting (no beam). It should be predictable, so always in a straight line, and with the range displayed in the spell description. It could also be interesting if only 1 square disappear per turn, but probably harder to code. — galehar 2010-09-29 10:10

Melt Rock

Level 3 Transmutation/Earth/Fire
it replaces dig (see the dig section for comments). It uses directional targeting and you need to be adjacent to a wall to melt it. It melt between 1 and 4 squares in a straight line depending on power. The effect isn't immediate. The wall first turn into a “melting rock” (only flavour, no special effect). After a turn it turns into “melted rock” (or cooling lava as suggested by Minced) and stays so for a few turns before cooling down and becoming normal floor. If more than 1 square is melting, they melt 1 each turn (the second turns into melting rock on the same turn as the first one as turned into melted rock). You can step on melted rock, but it deals some fire damage (maybe not as much as lava). It also makes some harmless smoke. In slimes, melted slime does fire and acid damage.
If it's possible, when the last melted rock in LOS cools down and disappear, it triggers a “stop waiting” event. That way, you can cast the spell and start a long rest which is stopped as soon as it is safe to walk through. — galehar 2010-10-04 10:53

Melt Rock, Dig -> Bolt of Magma trans/earth/fire 5

I propose merging melt rock with bolt of magma - the resulting bolt spell mostly acts like the existing bolt of magma spell, but transmutes rock in its path to lava. Affected walls would become “cooling lava” for a few turns, making the path a very, very painful emergency escape. Because bolt of magma can only affect three targets, the resulting spell would only melt a few tiles of rock, neatly preserving the proposed limitation of the melt rock spell.

It may seem strange at first to have a utility spell that also deals damage, but hey, LRD does the same thing.

Minced 2010-10-02

The problem is that bolt of magma is a conjuration spell, and you're turning it into a transmutation. What if you fire it and there's no wall? What is transmuted into magma? I suggest that Bolt of Magma is mostly unchanged (still conj), but if it hits a wall, there's a chance (based on power) that it melts a single square (a bit like OOD). See above for melting wall. — galehar 2010-10-04 10:33
See the “Earth without Conjurations” section. There are actually strong reasons for changing the earth magic conjurations into transmutations, and if such a change were made, bolt of magma would have to become a transmutation spell anyway. As for flavor, the spell gathers earth and transmutes it into magma infused with enough transformational energy to transmute a rock wall or two. — Minced 2010-10-02
If you need flavour for the effect, just make it “bolt of melting”, something that causes anything it hits to heat up and start melting, whether wall or creature. Presumably, rF helps against it because things that are naturally fire-resistant are harder to melt. — ais523 2011-09-04 12:09
If Poison Magic School Reform happens, perhaps this would fit better there; turning earth into magma isn't really changing its form, just its state. — mumra 2011-09-04 16:27

New Escape Spell

Drill (Strogbpoint)

Digs a shaft for the player to conveniently dive down, making it a two-turn get-out-of-jail card like portal with a teeny bit more balance — in particular, it works outside the main dungeon and has the potential, unlike portal, to place the player in way more trouble. Although passwall requires a lot more thought to use, this spell could probably work.

If it's essentially 1-level shaft trap escape spell, then I really like it. I thought about a Translocation spell, but this makes even more sense and Earth needs help more. Should it be possible to cast the spell time after time ? Since player would be getting into worse and worse danger, I don't see why not… To keep things interesting, it could fail if there's an obstacle directly below you (on lower level). — b0rsuk 2010-09-15 23:37
I like the idea, although the spell is certainly overpowered in the proposed form. (Note that we removed self-banishment.) A really good feature is that it won't work on branch ends. The spell could get some drawbacks so as to make it an actual decision whether to use this (over blink, say), but that would not be needed for its first incarnation. — dpeg 2010-09-17 07:26
As per the discussion on the new spells page, downsides could include bringing along some/all immediately surrounding hostiles, or area damage that affects the caster too (basically collapsing the tunnel and causing a cave-in/sinkhole.) Also has the potential risk of “landing” on a shaft on the destination level (similar to using a normal shaft.) From a “realism” perspective, it might be interesting to turn the square on the level being departed to either rock wall (representing the pile of collapsed rubble) or a permanent shaft. — jeffqyzt 2010-12-28
NetHack has pretty much exactly this effect (triggered by casting the Dig spell or zapping a wand of digging “downwards”, which is a legitimate (although often pointless) direction for all directed spells in NetHack); it's balanced by certain monsters following the player down through the hole (mostly intelligent ones). I think it works better there than it would in Crawl, though, because of multiple staircases; in Nethack, it's dangerous to use if there are things you can't handle near the stairs, but in Crawl it's more of a free escape because there's nearly always some safe method to get back to the level you came from. — ais523 2011-09-04 12:11
This doesn't necessarily have to be a new spell, as the behavior could be given to self-targetted Dig. — og17 2010-09-17 22:11

New Battlefield Control Spells

Lehudib's Crystalization trans/earth 5 (probably too similar to Ashenzari scrying to be implemented)

Makes nearby rock walls temporarily translucent. Temporarily transforms rocks in inventory into gems, which give extra damage via sandblast/slings (probably overpowered). Perhaps earth elementals could gain invisibility! As previously noted, this spell would allow stabbers to peek through walls before using passwall. > Cute idea, not sure how much it would be used. Translucent walls are usually a detriment to the player, not a benefit. Rocks → gems is not worth it. — dpeg 2010-09-17 07:26 > But… crystal elementals! — Minced

Quicksand, trans/earth 5 (Implemented as Leda's Liquefaction)

Temporarily transforms a radius 2 patch of land into quicksand, which markedly slows movement and decreases evasion for all land-based creatures save for earth-based summons. Great with haunt's flying summons! Update: perhaps it could have increased effects on small/tiny creatures, given that quicksand is a far greater concern if it's neck deep. > I prefer not to decrease movement because that way it can turn into yet another kiting spell. But evasion - sure, as it has interesting interactions with summons, Levitation, flying. — b0rsuk 2010-08-22 09:38 » Sure about kiting? When you move out of your spot, you'll be in quicksand, too! Yes, the spell might buy you one or two turns more to shoot at your enemies, but that's it. It combines nicely with blink, I guess. Altogether I am not convinced, I am afraid the spell is not useful enough. — dpeg 2010-09-17 07:26 »>I thought this was meant to be targetted, which makes it much more useful. — og17 2010-09-17 22:11 »» Even if the spell isn't targeted, you can always fly out of quicksand… — Minced

Cloud of Dust

Basically a cloud of fog, but with some twists:
It's context-sensitive. I think Earth spells should be context-sensitive. You couldn't cast it in water or lava, which would make some layouts trickier than others. Compliments short-ranged playstyle well. A “fog” spell could belong to either water or fire (smoke) school, but I think Earth variant is the most interesting because of terrain limitations. — b0rsuk 2010-08-22 09:38

Hmmm. What if LRD produced dust clouds when used on rock walls? That way, LRD would be well worth using at low power. — Minced
I like the way you think. — b0rsuk 2010-09-15 23:37
This would make LRD mainly good for producing smoke, as you can't cast it again if the wall's hidden. Using it for damage means you'd hit enemies once and then not be able to touch them with any ranged attack until they advance out, and destroying walls would be tedious. — og17 2010-09-16 04:35
I don't think there should be a fog spell. Fog is very good to have around, for example, the scroll is very useful. — dpeg 2010-09-17 07:26

iron maiden earth/trans 5

Causes all iron walls in view to attack any (yes, including you) adjacent creatures by sprouting spikes for a few turns - it is meant to be the “sticky flame” spell of earth magic, though its emphasis on keeping enemies next to walls is similar to LRD. Would pair well with quicksand. Might possibly also work with stone/rock walls, albeit dealing somewhat less damage.

Cool idea, could be expanded so that the wall sometimes grabs adjacent beings (so they cannot move away or spend more than one turn doing so). The drawback is that it is limited to metal walls, which are rare. I would prefer a 'Living Wall' which does different things with different types of walls. — dpeg 2010-09-17 07:26

"Summoning" Spells

Summon Dust Devils (earth/air/summoning 2)

I know that earth and air are opposing schools, but I don't think that necessarily means that there can't be spells that use both. This spell summons two to six dust devils depending on power. Dust devils are a new monster that looks like a small brown air elemental. It is as fast and flimsy as a bat but does three to four times as much damage and resists poison and all elements. Dust Devils are always neutral. If included in the starting book, this spell would provide an interesting (if dangerous) early crowd control option as well as a bridge to summon elemental. — 256 2010-09-16 20:46

Sounds good, but I'd just make it earth/air/tmut for consistency with other earth spells — you are effectively working with dust in the air when creating dust devils. I would also make dust devils friendly but confused for consistency with fire vortices. Minced 2010-09-16
Interesting concept. Shouldn't be hard to implement, would be fun to try out. — dpeg 2010-09-17 07:26
I like the friendly but confused tweak. I also understand the reasoning behind wanting to change it to transmutations, but that gains consistency with other Earth spells at the expense of losing consistency with Summon Elemental (to which this is meant to be a bridge spell for earth and air elementalists). I mean, it's not like Summon Elemental isn't working with existing materials as well. Though that does raise the possibility of renaming Summon Elemental to “Create Elemental” and changing it from Summoning(4) to Transmutations(4). That might be interesting… — 256 2010-09-17 19:03

Other Spells

Pet Rock trans/earth 5

Brings out the life within nearby boulders, temporarily animating them as pets that attack by rolling onto enemies. This attack does trample damage, possibly pushing back enemies, and nicely distinguishing this spell from summon elemental. Everyone knows that dungeons always have rolling boulders in inopportune places, so the flavor at least works. If there were some way of generating +0 large rocks easily (say, through LRD use), this spell would probably have more utility, but such a spell might also break balance.

Large rocks are too heavy for most races' casters to carry around, and being limited to random rocks and ones dropped by giants seems a little niche. This would need the LRD change to have any point. — og17 2010-09-16 04:35
[user:OG17]] did it again :) Of course, the spell would have some point. Everyone can carry large rocks and if the damage was big enough, they would. I don't see a problem with Earth casters valueing strength more than others, on the contrary. The rock should probably have a chance to break (into a large number of stones). This spell is a little bit like the big brother of Sticks to Snakes, in that you can turn a limited resource into allies. — dpeg 2010-09-17 07:22
How does encouraging earth casters to take strength help bring the school up to speed? It could be a fun gimmick for statue form players, I guess, though they probably don't want to knock enemies around. — og17 2010-09-17 22:11
I envisioned the spell as animating rocks on the ground. Furthermore, I wouldn't mind having the rocks be permanent allies, especially if they don't regenerate HP and lose some HP while crashing into enemies. With these changes, the spell has utility in any level with a stone giant or cyclops.
Also, maybe the spell also could work on stones, sort of like sticks to snakes with arrows. I'm not sure how useful it would be to animate a stack of rocks into a horde of chirping, impish pets throwing themselves at an enemy, but it would probably be hilarious… — Minced
So this would come with two new monsters, “little pet rock” and “big pet rock”… What would Okawaru think of their suicidal devotion? It might be better to have them revert after a while, after all.
Maxwell's Silver Hammer earth/trans 2

The spell, in its current form, should by rights be an enchantment since it doesn't actually change the hammer's structure. Why not *actually* make the hammer into silver instead, for extra damage against undead and shapeshifters?

Good idea! With this, we can even restrict the spell to only hammers. Yes, it is special, but you can cast it very early on (lowering level to 1 is fine, too) and it will help you to get rid of early undead etc. The silver brand cannot be fixed with scroll, of course. — dpeg 2010-09-17 07:26
Double hammer damage could be useful, but it's not very exciting, and early undead etc don't seem to be much of a problem to begin with. Unlucky mace crusader-types might grab it for a cheap eveningstar, I don't know. — og17 2010-09-17 22:11
(disclaimer: Maxwell's does not work on eveningstars since they do piercing damage) Early undead aren't a big deal, but skeletal warriors are a nightmare for OgEE among others. For that reason alone, I think making the spell work on most of the mace family would be interesting. — Minced
Silver is currently kind of ungodly strong against vulnerable enemies (200% to holy wrath's 75%), that probably wouldn't be a good idea. Not sure OgEE would want to melee skeletal warriors either way, but mace crusaders would tear through stuff even more easily. — og17 2010-09-18 08:24
Silver is +100% compared to holy wrath's +75%. — ledtim 2010-12-04 00:11
Indeed. This is why I proposed to restrict MSH to hammers only. This also removes the confusion about what types of weapons the spell currrently applies to. I believe the suggestion would make the spell useful and interesting but not overpowered in the long run. — dpeg 2010-09-18 18:18

I kind of like this idea, and why wouldn't this be eligible for vorpalization? Just like any other use, you're getting one (1) perma-branded weapon. — mental_mouse 2010-12-05 16:04

Because silver is a brand that doesn't conflict with other brands–you can have a silver hammer of draining or whatever. Thus, it would be a no brainer for anyone with maces and flails skill to take the best hammer they can find, temporarily memorize Maxwell's, and permabrand the thing. At least with the other brands vorpalizing them doesn't make a weapon strictly better than anything you'd find lying around, unless you started with a highly enchanted weapon. — brickman 2010-12-05 17:24

Revised Spellbooks

I think a good “first revision” of earth magic would utilize the following boosts:

  • stone arrow → level 2 trans/earth
  • Stoneskin/statue form connection removed
  • statue form gets GDR of plate mail to compensate
  • stoneskin brings AC to 11 if AC is at most 7, gives current (weak) bonus otherwise (numbers subject to adjustment)
  • iron shot → level 6 trans/earth, LCD → level 8 trans/earth
  • LRD damage boosted significantly, earth elemental connection removed
    • As in “elementals can't be LRDed?” The two spells would remain useful independently, so the combination wouldn't be a no-brainer, but an option for some extra versatility. Synergy like this is a fantastic thing to have, it makes spells and schools more interesting. — og17 2010-10-05 18:05
  • summon elemental → animate earth level 3 trans/earth
  • earth elementals nerfed slightly to compensate for the earlier point at which they can be summoned

This revision would make earth magic much, much more playable for earth elementalists and would not require new spells. If new spells are introduced, I suggest changes to the book of morphology, which is currently quite lackluster. — Minced

Another dimension: inclines and hills!

If earth mages could incline the floor in different directions, it might lead to all kinds of interesting effects. I'm not sure how to denote the effect within ASCII, but think - shatter and IOOD could produce impact craters! Earth mages could place themselves on hills, gaining a small range boost and some protection against enemy arrows!

It's classic battlefield control at its best: always take the high ground. And come to think of it, hills might make combat in the open more attractive, if the player could secure one.

One possibility for ASCII representation would be to use different shades of red/pink/brown, with lighter shades denoting higher elevations. I'm not sure there's enough color choices to make the distinction that meaningful, though. =(

Minced 2010-08-22

Terrain Type Proposals mentions some similar ideas for trenches and cliffs which would be pretty neat to see in some Earth spells. — psyshvl
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