Enchantments School Reform (Hexes and Charms)


The idea to split up the Enchantments school was discussed in quite some depth in 2748451. This wiki page created by dpeg 2010-05-26 22:17.

There are some good reasons to undertake this:

  • Enchantments is the biggest school of them all, with 42 spells (the runners up are 30 Conjurations, 24 Necromancy, 22 Transmutations, 17 Summonings, 16 Air Magic, 15 Earth Magic, 15 Ice Magic, 14 Fire Magic, 13 Poison Magic, 12 Translocations). Note that the smallest school, Divination with 10 spells, was removed in 0.6.
  • Not only that, Enchantments are, broadly speaking, versatile, ubiquitious and overpowered. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that every dedicated caster will branch into Enchantments some. Picking up a bit of the branch is a no-brainer, more than any other branch.
  • To stress the last point again: Enchantments provides such a range of good spells, e.g. Swiftness, Haste, Repel/Deflect Missiles etc., that one could argue the (access to such wealth from just one) school is overpowered.
  • On top of this, you get free magic resistance from the school, no other school has something like this (disclaimer: removed as of 0.7, transfered to staff of enchantment).


The desire to split Enchantments is there, so here are some steps to get there (from ##crawl-dev discussion):

  • Nerf Haste. The Haste spell is a crucial part of the school, so we should nerf it before we make the split (otherwise the half with the spell would get nerfed later on). A simple approach is to replace the 2 (double speed) by 1.5. Any Haste nerf has further implications:
    • Change some monster speeds?
    • (Anti-)Nerf Slow too?
    • Haste Nerf discussion should go on the haste_nerf page.
  • Remove Selective Amnesia. This is an Ench spell, so we should take care of that right away. See forgetting_spells.
  • Split the school. Proposals below. dpeg believes that we should be guided by gameplay considerations. For example, do we want stabbers (using Ench offensively) to be happy with a single school? Same question for buffs: if someone wants more AC/EV/etc., should they be available in a single school or spread out among the two?
  • Change/add spells. The above three steps will suffice for 0.8. After that, it will be good to change existing spells, add new ones and perhaps remove some. (by correctly pointed out that the split itself will make some currently underused Ench spells more attractive: the school is currently so rich in spells, that many fall by the wayside simply because nobody can use them all.)

Now, instead of cutting spells (which is an option), there is the idea to split the school in two or more parts. This would effectively be a clamp on xp investment, and hopefully create meaningful choices. Note: be aware that some spells of the current Enchantments school could have multiple schools in the new system.

Split 1: Objects/Environment vs Creatures

Enchantments would affect items and the map, Charms would affects creatures, including the player. (lemuel)

Enchantments: Control Teleport, Deflect Missiles, Excruciating Wounds, Extension, Fire Brand, Freezing Aura, Lethal Infusion, Levitation, Maxwell's Silver Hammer, Ozocubu's Armour, Poison Brand, Projected Noise, Repel Missiles, Ring of Flames, See Invisible, Silence, Sure Blade, Tukima's Dance, Tukima's Vorpal Blade, Warp Weapon

Charms: Selective Amnesia, Berserker Rage, Cause Fear, Confuse, Confusing Touch, Control Undead, Death's Door, Enslavement, Ensorceled Hibernation,Haste, Insulation, Invisibility, Levitation, Mass Confusion, Metabolic Englaciation, Petrify, Regeneration, Resist Poison, Swiftness, Fly, Slow, Stoneskin, Tame Beasts.

Split 2: Self vs Rest

Chants are spells that affect yourself or your immediate surroundings and Enchantments affect items or other creatures (including items in your inventory). The former has buffs and wards (although some might become Transmuations, see below) and the latter has brands and charms. (anym)

Chants: Berserker Rage, Condensation Shield, Confusing Touch, Control Teleport, Death's Door, Deflect Missiles, Extension, Fly, Haste, Insulation, Invisibility, Levitation, Ozocubu's Armour, Regeneration, Repel Missiles, Resist Poison, Ring of Flames, See Invisible, Selective Amnesia, Silence, Swiftness.

Enchantments: Cause Fear, Confuse, Control Undead, Corona, Enslavement, Ensorcelled Hibernation, Excruciating Wounds, Fire Brand, Freezing Aura, Lethal Infusion, Maxwell's Silver Hammer, Mass Confusion, Metabolic Englaciation, Petrify, Poison Brand, Projected Noise, Slow, Sure Blade, Tame Beasts, Tukima's Dance, Tukima's Vorpal Blade, Warp Weapon,

Note that Confusing Touch affects how your hands behave while Confusion directly targets creatures, placing them in different schools. Stoneskin doesn't show up above as I think it's fine as a Transmutation.

Split 3: Buffs vs Debuffs

Thaumaturgy would be for buffs (and, on that note, you could change the rather ambiguous sounding Crusader class to Thaumaturgist, as well as making their main spell school this one), and Cursing for debuffs (which includes such things as enslavement, control undead, etc. too). As for utility spells that don't seem to fit in either, such as projected noise, selective amnesia, etc, it might be better to stick that all into Cursing, as it would likely be a smaller school than Thaumaturgy.

This is an attempt to divide the playing styles of Enchanters and Crusaders:
Enchanters dispatch enemies by making them susceptible to their attacks, though most often creating opportunities for stabs (hibernation, as an example).
Crusaders prefer to dispatch of enemies by making their own offensive powers much stronger, and also adding a defensive backing to it. Their style doesn't hinder others, but instead makes themselves more powerful.

Split 4: schools to match using classes

there are some unintuitive splits here, like see invis in one school and invisibility in another, but it is based on the idea that the school split should honor the charcater classes, not their own internal theme.


a base enchantment school, with:

  • 2 - Ensorcelled hibernation
  • 2 - Levitation
  • 2 - Swiftness
  • 2 - Tukima's vorpal blade
  • 3 - Confuse
  • 3 - Slow
  • 3 - Tukima's dance
  • 4 - Enslavement
  • 4 - Flight
  • 4 - Petrify
  • 4 - See invisible
  • 4 - SA (if kept)
  • 5 - Cause fear
  • 5 - Extension
  • 5 - Silence
  • 5 - Tame beasts
  • 6 - Control undead
  • 6 - Haste
  • 6 - Mass confuse
  • 7 - Metabolic englac.
  • 8 - Death's door

needs a lvl 1 spell or two

stalker, arcane marksman and crusader

a thaumaturgy school (word comes from the greek for magic – like a magic trick or, in their time, engineering), with all the enchantment spells not mentioned above.

Split 5: Benevolent vs. Malevolent Energies (Ero)

In this split, the resulting school is based on the nature of the energies/spirits you channel.


  • Cause Fear
  • Confuse
  • Confusing Touch
  • Control Undead
  • Corona
  • Enslavement
  • Ensorcelled Hibernation
  • Excruciating Wounds (channels dark energies into your weapon)
  • Invisibility (clouds the senses of your enemies)
  • Lethal Infusion (channels dark energies into your weapon)
  • Mass Confusion
  • Metabolic Englaciation
  • Projected Noise
  • Silence (protects you from magic… or afflicts magic-users)
  • Slow
  • Sure Blade (your weapon is eager to stab your enemies)
  • Warp Weapon (channels the energies of the Abyss, a very evil and chaotic place!)


  • Condensation Shield
  • Control Teleport
  • Fire Brand (elemental spirits to fight alongside your weapon)
  • Freezing Aura (elemental spirits to fight alongside your weapon)
  • Fly
  • Haste
  • Insulation
  • Levitation
  • Ozocubu's Armour
  • Poison Brand (elemental spirits to fight alongside your weapon)
  • Resist Poison
  • See Invisible
  • Swiftness
  • Tukima's Dance (your weapon is eager to aid you in combat/defend you)


  • Regeneration: Nec/Tmut.
  • Extension: Removed.


  • Berserker Rage (grants you great strength, or a destructive rage)
  • Death's Door (gives you the protection of undeath, or safety with a heavy price)
  • Deflect Missiles (shields you, or harms the projectiles)
  • Repel Missiles (shields you… or harms the projectiles)
  • Ring of Flames (fiery energies to shield you, or burn others)


anym: I think a two-way split would be preferable to a three-way split at least for the start, as it shakes things up less, as Crawl already has great number of schools, some of them very small, and because it leaves both schools with a nice number of spells in the Transmuation-Necromancy-Conjuration range. Furthermore, it doesn't require moving spells away from Transmutations, which I think spells should probably be moved into rather than away from.
Furthermore, I think the split shouldn't be among purely functional lines as it seems to be in Megane's proposal, but along flavour lines. Having a school that has all offensive Enchantments, but nothing but offensive Enchantments (which seems essential for stabbers, but underwhelming for everyone else) or one that contains all defensive spells (which anybody who does some casting will probably want at least something of) just doesn't seem interesting to me. For example, look at how currently most direct damage dealing is in Conjurations, but there are niches for direct damage in other schools like Transmigration or Necromancy, while Conjurations also gets atypical spells Mephitic Cloud and Conjure Flame. Also, none of the schools seems to maintain a strong elemental flavour as all of the elements seem to be about evenly divided among all schools.
I'm also not sure if a purely defensive school would be enough for a specialist class. After all, they'd still need a way to deal with monsters and like I said defensive spells are of great interest to anyone so they probably would proliferate among starting books for other classes anyway.
The overall idea for a split and Megane's reasons why an Enchantment split would be a good idea are spot on, though.
I like both Lemuel's and my splits. I like that they're split along a simple flavour-based rule (“creature vs. non-creature”, “self vs. other”), that they end up with roughly equally sized schools. I strongly think that the split should be clear, though, and that there should be few, if any spells ending up belonging to both school, because I think multi-school spells work better if they usually have one general purpose and one or two elemental schools rather than two elemental schools. Also, I could even imagine the split Enchantment schools becoming opposed schools (like Fire and Ice), depending on the severity of the split. Alternatively, one of them might become opposed to Transmutations which does similar things, but in a completely different way. It might even be worth to think about making each general purpose magic school opposed to one of the others.
I also like that in both splits both schools are interesting to a variety of characters while there are also characters that need only one. In fact, it seems to me that both proposals are similar in that melee-hybrids will typically want both and that stabbers are usually fine with one (“creature”, “other”). Blasters will typically want the other one in my proposal respectively either (or both) of them in Lemuel's.
Something I particularly like about Lemuel's split is that it puts Haste in a different school from Silence, Reflect Missiles and Deflect Missiles.
Something I particularly like about my split is that all Air spells are confined to one of the schools maintaining that synergy and that part of Air Magic's flavour and that Confusion and Confusing Touch are in different schools.
Something I'm not too fond of is the idea of calculating spell power differently for each spell, like only having it depend on one of its schools. It think that makes the mechanic too opaque.
Something that has hardly been addressed is what to do about Magic Resistance. Should any (or both?) of Enchantments' successor schools boost MR? Which one? The one for stabbers that attacks other's MR or the one that provides magical defenses? Personally, I think neither school should give it anymore. Crawl's skills usually don't additional semi-hidden effects like that. Well, technically, Fighting and Spellcasting do, but they are special in being general purpose, too. Furthermore, most species with good Enchantments aptitudes already have good racial MR. Giving passive piety-based MR to Trog-followers sounds like a nice step to compensate for that overall loss of player MR. Maybe there's even room for an effect (probably spell or scroll) that temporarily raises MR, as the opposite of scrolls of vulnerability.
megane: I prefer the creature/self vs environment/object split because it does seem to have a stronger thematic distinction. Also, because it splits the 'good' spells up a little better (I still think environment/object could use a bit of fleshing out, in terms of new spells or buffed spells to make it attractive enough to actually take).
On MR: the effect is pretty big… You don't really need other sources of MR in my experience. Creature/Self does seem to be the place where sticking it would make the most sense. Haven't formed an opinion yet on whether it would be a good idea to completely remove the MR bonus. Maybe leaning towards keep it.
I used to prefer a distinction by function (i.e. self-buff vs. monsters) but by now I'm convinced that Megane's proposal (basically, affecting living beings vs. inanimate) is the way to go. I particularly like how Deflect Missiles and Haste end up in different schools, thereby introducing an interesting trade-off. I don't really care as to the former's new name, but IMHO the latter should continue being called Enchantments because this ties in nicely well with the existing enchantment scrolls. — jpeg 2010-08-22 15:35
I strongly think it's a bad idea – since the only big spells that would get separated are DMsl and Haste. What spells is being an enchanter about? Hibernation, Confuse, Swiftness, Enslavement, Haste, DMsl - the rest count little. You would put all but one into one side of the aisle, leaving the rest with worthless stuff like branding weapons. Self-buffs vs enchanting others would split the school roughly in half. — kilobyte 2010-08-22 20:46
A school dedicated to self enchantments is every powergamer's wet dream. Self enchantments are spells which provide lasting bonus against multiple monsters, without MR check, and without the need to spend extra turns. Unless carefully designed, self enchantments are just more powerful than equivalent “enchant other” spells. In many games. — b0rsuk 2010-08-22 23:13

Unrelated comment by haraldko:

Whatever of these split is decided upon, it looks like Crusaders will get most of their spells from one of the schools, and Enchanters from the other. This is a good thing, in my opinion.

In the current state, the split really hasn't done much of anything. Charms may as well be the old Enchantments, and Hexes a completely new school. Prior to the split, nearly every caster trained Enchantments in order to cast buffs. Now nearly every caster trains Charms in order to cast buffs. The split is only relevant to those who want to use Hexes. — minmay 2011-03-25 21:51

Brands are Charms

Brands were recently moved to hexes, which causes numerous problems and no advantages. The basic problems are intuitively clear, given that the split results in “charms enchant your own body (except when they don't),” “hexes enchant things that aren't your body (except when they don't),” and “buffing your weapon is identical to debuffing a monster and has nothing in common with buffing your body.” It also breaks the crusading classes conceptually, as they're supposed to be about improving physical combat and therefore focus on self-buffing spells, including the toolbox of weapon brands - arbitrarily moving these spells to hexes suggests that the classes should learn proper hex spells, but debuffing is an entirely different archetype that's solidly covered by En (among others). It breaks these classes mechanically as well, as they're left with a mix of spells from several unrelated schools. The split also makes potential future indiscriminate hexes impossible, unless you're actually going to claim that an alistair's-type hex effect would have a charm component just because you're affected along with everything else on the screen. The current abilities to simply target hexes on yourself and charms on others becomes completely inconsistent, of course. And the split doesn't even accomplish the ever-popular “make hexes “better” by throwing whatever we feel like into hexes,” as the commonly-used brands demand little skill to begin with. In short,

Problems with brands as charms

  • AM needs a new L1 spell, Cause Fear needs to be trivially reflavored as a charm (eg scary illusion aura)

Problems with brands as hexes

  • Thematic and mechanical inconsistencies across the board
  • Cr and AM broken, roles weakened

og17 2011-02-01 20:36

I agree that this change should be reverted. There is now no clear thematic distinction between a hex and a charm (it used to be that charms enhanced the target, be it a creature or item, and hexes debilitated the target, but brands as hexes breaks that). There's little incentive for a Crusader to spend spell slots on a weapon brand when it will quickly become obsolete and doesn't contribute towards learning higher-level spells, making the hex skill shoehorned onto them meaningless. The Arcane Marksman still has a non-hex spell in Swiftness, so they didn't even gain spell unity to offset the loss of spell unity suffered by the Crusader. Crusaders were messily forced to be given skill in two separate magical schools, which even the old Arcane Marksman didn't require to function smoothly (Wizards used to have the sole distinction of being the only class with skill in multiple schools, and rightfully so since their entire theme is magical deversitty). And this serves only to worsen the pre-existing lack of varied entry-level charm spells (charms is the only school in the game with zero level one spells). This just hurt the game all around. If there's a demand for arbitrarily shrinking the charms school then moving Ozocubu's Armor and Condensation Shield to transmutations would have been a lot cleaner, and if there's a demand for strengthening hexes it's because the school lacks viable mid- and high-level spells, not low-level ones. — sjohara 2011-02-02 05:54
Wasn't one of the goals when splitting explicitly to leave “crusaders in one school, stabbers in the other”? Why on earth would anyone ever move brands to hexes? — brickman 2011-02-22 04:50
Stabbers also have to pick up both schools (ha-ha dual-school Charm/Hex Invisibility and victory dancing up for it with Sure Blade). Of course, this should die painfully (mostly the victory dancing). — mrmistermonkey 2011-02-22 07:36

Other remarks

The following remarks are not about the split itself, but are related to the Enchantments school:

Asymmetric multi-school spells

Currently, the schools in a spell like Repel Missiles (Air/Enchantments) work completely symmetric: both improve success and power in the same way. This could be changed. Very many enchantments rely on a duration; one could rule that the Enchantments skill is relevant for the duration, whereas the other skill is relevant for power. Under this rule, the following spells would no longer gain power from Enchantments skill:

  • Necromancy: Control Undead, Death's Door, Excruciating Wounds, Lethal Infusion, Regeneration
  • Translocation: Control Teleport, Warp Weapon
  • Air: Deflect Missiles, Flight, Insulation, Levitation, Repel Missiles, Silence, Swiftness
  • Ice: Ensorcelled Hibernation, Freezing Aura, Metabolic Englaciation, Ozocubu's Armour
  • Fire: Fire Brand, Ring of Flames
  • Earth: Petrify
  • Poison: Poison Weapon, Resist Poison

The remaining spells are:

  • Berserker Rage, Cause Fear, Confusing Touch, Corona, Enslavement, Extension, Haste, Invisibility, Mass Confusion, Projected Noise, See Invisible, Slow, Tame Beasts, Tukima's Dance, Tukima's Vorpal Blade

Sounds like a good idea to me. Haste would remain the only major buff usable by a pure enchanter. It could be further tampered with, for example by making Berserker Rage and Corona Enchantment/Fire. — b0rsuk 2010-09-11 16:15

Since there won't be pure enchanters anymore, I don't see why should we introduce such an inconsistency and make most spells unusable without victory dancing skills you don't use. — kilobyte 2010-09-11 16:44

Buffs mechanic

Currently, you have to re-cast certain Enchantment spells time and again (typical examples being Levitation, Repel Missiles etc.). A natural idea is to have those simple-minded buffs (i.e. no drawbacks) work in a different way: you cast them and the spell is permanently in effect, while your maxmp is reduced by the spell's level. You could turn off a buff by casting it again. This is very similar to what happens if you play very cautiously and re-cast buffs just before they run out. The idea has its own wiki page, please discuss at Duration-Based Spell Reform.

Regarding Specific Spells

Re-schooling spells

anym: Regardless of any splits, I think a couple of Enchantments could (although I'm less sure if they should) be re-schooled to something other than Enchantments, many to Transmutations, but also others, for example:

Berserker Rage → Transmutation: You make your blood boil and despite the power it gives you, you are still very much bound by the confines of your body, especially once the effect wears off. Also, it doesn't work on undead, which is typical for Transmutations, but not so much for Enchantments.

Fly → Transmutation: Could be renamed to Wings and let you sprout wings instead of just magically lifting you off the ground. That would also be a differentiation from Levitation, the Enchantment that sometimes impractically negates gravity for you.

Petrify → Transmutation: Earth usually doesn't do Enchantments and you literally, albeit temporarily, turn the target to stone with this.

Projected Noise → Conjuration: You conjure something up out of thin air, like a cloud of flame or a Stone Arrow. It's makes a noise, like a Fire Storm or a Lightning Bolt. It doesn't fit with Enchantments any better than it would with Conjurations.

Regeneration → Transmutation: Similar to Berserker Rage above, you change your flesh to behave differently, like a Troll's for example, i.e. it replicates the effect of a racial trait respectively a mutation and it doesn't work on undead.

See Invisible → Transmutation: One might argue that this spell gives you supernatural eyesight by physically changing your eyes (like the mutation) rather than magically enchant-enhancing your senses.

Swiftness → Transmutation: Again, this is very similar to a mutation and unlike Haste, in only affects how fast you move. Haste magically speeds up your whole being in relation to the universe, while this arguably just makes your legs move faster.

A related comment by kotk in 2774479: many Enchantment spells could get an additional component (which constitutes an interesting nerf):

…berserking, confusing, slowing and paralysing effects themselves are part of Enchantments spell school. Why? In real world such things happen because of poisons, diseases, chill and drugs. So Poison, Necromancy, Ice. Transmutation schools feel actually more fitting for such things.

Actually, some of these effects really should be available in multiple spells with different school-sets. Sometimes the different versions would have subtly different effects or resistances – for example, Hibernation (Enc/Ice) (cold resistance protects, cold-blooded creatures are slowed after waking) vs. Sedate (Enc/Poison) (poison resistance protects, non-resistant mobs are slowed or confused after waking) vs. Petrify (Enc/Earth) (as current) vs. Coma (Enc/Necromancy) etc/. Flavor: mages of any school can appreciate a basic takedown spell. Berserking is another one – currently available as spell, divine power, and frenzy needles. The spell could easily be split into Charm & Chant, a Poison (drug) version, perhaps a Fire version…. Invisibility could be one of several stealth-enhancement spells with varying tradeoffs, and so on. — mental_mouse 2010-12-04 22:04

I could hardly disagree more. Introducing this kind of redundancy would eliminate the reasons to train in multiple magical schools; might as well suggest a midlevel Translocation with roughly the same effect as Mystic Blast while you're at it. — dtsund 2010-12-06 05:08

New spell proposals

Bind Familiar, Ench/Summoning. Bind Familiar allows you to turn a single temporary non-divine summon into a permanent ally (limit one at a time, do note). The familiar gives a higher percentage of XP per kill (say, 80%). Bind Familiar should also work on enslaved enemies. I think this can open up new possibilities for playstyles (like making Elyvilon's lesser healing useful for something other than pacification). — slyshy 2010-09-02 01:35

Old spells

straydusk has some lengthy opinions on specific spells (diff), since summarized by rob.

  • Berserker Rage: remove as spell. Unlikely to happen.
  • Control Undead, Death's Door: Necromancy-only for thematic reasons.
  • Invisibility: make this Ench/Air.

Haste is a flagship spell of the whole branch, mostly because the effect is extremely powerful. Nerf is inevitable: haste_nerf. It might be interesting to split the spell into Haste Self and Haste Other. The latter spell would be a little cheaper and useful for anyone with allies. If done too much, your ally will start to glow, some might not like that. — dpeg 2010-09-17 08:18

Spells which should be changed

  • Sure blade (hexes/charms) –> charms. Removed from En book. Sure blade doesn't fit in the En book because you have 100% accuracy with stabbing in general. It would be sad to see the spell disappear though, so maybe another book could be found for it.
  • Silence (hexes/charms/air) –> hexes/air, Invisibility (charms/hexes) –> hexes. This would fit better with the flavour of En, and are rarely used by other casters.
  • Tukima's dance (hexes) –> charms. This seems to be more intuitive flavourwise because you are charming the weapon like freezing aura etc, but instead of bestowing it with a brand imbuing it with a sense of movement. This isn't as clear cut as the other three, however.

(if this is on the wrong page please move it)

casmith789 2011-01-29 03:01

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