Transmutations School

Name dcss:brainstorm:magic: transmutations
Summary Several thoughts and ideas regarding Transmutations.
Further information Blade Hands includes overall concerns of the current balance

All transmutations are permanent

How about a complete paradigm shift ? Transmutations could be unique in that they would all cause permanent effects ! Forms are permanent (but with downsides; right tool for the job). There's a separate Humanoid Form spell which transforms you back. Many forms may be unable to operate doors. Basically, as far as Transformations are concerned, you spend MP on changes. Other permanent spells could include:

  • Warp Ammunition (level 2): twists monster's ammunition making it impossible to use. Power increases number of ammunition affected. With enough power, the monster permanently loses ability to fire missiles. Optionally, ammunition could degenerate into worse if power is not enough to “destroy” it (sling bullets to stones, special materials to wood, brands are removed).
  • Humanoid Form (level 4): transforms you back into your original form
  • Transform amunition (Transmutation/Earth): permanently changes material to steel, silver etc.
  • C's Degeneration, Evaporate, Dig, Distillation, Alter Self already fit into this line of thinking and need no change
  • Necromutation(Lich form): it's permanent (Yay !). But player permanently loses ability to transform into other forms, to drink potions, and till the end of his days has to deal with all the disadvantages of lich form.
  • No one uses Condensation Shield anyway
  • I think Polymorph Other is already permanent; if it's not then duration is not an issue anyway
  • level 3+ Miscasts may actually transform you permanently. You need to transform back or find a potion (which one ?)

All the crap which doesn't fit the new paradigm can be dumped into Enchantments for all I care. I want schools to give me real choices and entertain me.

b0rsuk 2010-08-07 18:39

If this happens, then I insist that Spider Form be replaced with Serpent Form. The speed and poison and all the stats can say the same, only difference is that serpent form can wear naga bardings. Likewise there should be a new level 5 spell “Pegataur Form” (Pegataur!) that can wear centaur bardings. I just love the idea that if you're playing a deep elf and find a totally badass randart barding, you have the option of skilling transmutations specifically to use it. — 256 2010-08-10 04:46
Warning - melding of armour was introduced to eliminate the need to constantly switch equipment. Players had to put some pieces of armour back after transformation. Since no race except naga can wear n.bardings transformed and untransformed, this will reintroduce the annoyance.
I have an old related idea, though: animal skins should have chance to be magical or randart once again. Only this time, the effect would continue to work while transformed. In other words, animal skins would become a specialised armour for transformers. This is very fitting from thematic point of view, too - many shapeshifters, including berserkers, were supposed to gain the powers of a fierce animal whose fur they wore. — b0rsuk 2010-08-15 07:49

Lordsloth's proposal for Statue and Dragon Form

lordsloth 2010-04-09 18:08: With the recent change to guaranteed damage reduction in 0.7 (body armour ONLY, no armour skill factor), I was thinking we should consider some special cases for two forms, possible future forms.

  1. Dragon form should remain low AC, but get high guaranteed damage reduction — or at least equivalent to wearing plain dragon armour. I'm not crazy about dragons being less able to absorb the damage than their dead bodies. This would result in a consistent reduction of damage, but little chance at completely absorbing damage.
  2. Statue Form should get GDR equivalent to plate mail, or better. Crystal plate equivalent might be a bit stupid… but nerfable. I'd love to see complaints of statue form being overpowered. At the least, this would make it a lot attractive to transmuters that can't wear most armour. —
I like everything about this. If we find this makes dragon/statue form too strong, we should nerf them in other ways. Using GDR here in a good way will help in so many aspects. Many thanks! — dpeg 2010-04-11 03:24


This entire article could be in the spells section but I decided to put it here instead.

In the early game, transmuters are tremendously fun: you have two forms to choose from (Ice and Spider) and you swap between them pretty constantly, depending on opposition. By the end of lair, you sometimes use blade hands - although the increased hunger is a major concern, and this depends somewhat on equipment. I'm not as fond of blade hands as other people, unless I happen to have really good boots or a helmet or something.

Then you get dragon form and statue form, except that you don't, because they suck. And they're very hard to cast, and the spell-schools they contain are deeply anti-synergistic with transmutations at high levels.

Another problem is that Transmutation is compatible only with unarmed combat, really. This is fine for the Transmuter *class*, but weapon-wielding characters should have some options other than statue form, which has no major advantage for weapon-wielders. The truly desperate may use it as a source of rElec, but the perpetual-slow is essentially a death sentence.

As was pointed out by borsuk below, this criticism of Statue Form is too harsh. (In particularly, the comparison with Blade Hands is irrelevant, as the blades are overpowered.) — dpeg 2010-03-17 16:45
Fine, it's also not as good as Ice Form, just for general purposes. But my main point isn't that Statue Form is too weak overall (I think it's *too hard to cast*, but that's secondary), but mainly that Statue Form doesn't do any good for weapon users, but does slow you. If Statue Form were just like it is, but really compatible with weapons (that is, gave you a damage bonus to compensate for the Slow), then I'd be much happier with it. — drpraetor 2010-03-31 05:41
Couldn't you replace the unarmed damage bonus with a big strength boost? This would help most weapon users, and I have no problem with quickblade users staying away from Statue Form. — joachimschipper 2011-09-15 14:38
For a strength boost to do anything noticeable at all it would have to be enormous (on the order of 30 or 40, and the maximum is 72). Also, Statue Form has already been changed to multiply weapon damage and unarmed by the same amount (1.5). — minmay 2011-09-15 23:46

So, some guidelines:

  • Roughly half the forms should not preclude the use of weapons, and any secondary-magic based bonuses should be useful when wielding weapons.
  • Each combo needs at-least-one low-level option (levels 2-4) and a high-level option (level 6+).
I do agree that forms should not necessarily work with unarmed. I am not convinced about having many spells — with the list below, the school would be overly full, in my opinion. I am also not sure about more spells which replace only one body part. These are more prone to powergaming and abuse, I believe. However, I like some of the form proposals. There are good ideas in there. — dpeg 2010-03-17 16:45
This is definitely too many. I intended for this long list to be whittled down substantially. So, take X-form below, and pick your favorite three? Personally, my favorites from my own list are: Shark Maw (b/c it gives Tm something to *do* at 1st level, and is really gross), Black Fever and Hellvine. — drpraetor 2010-03-31 05:41
I don't like Shark maw because: the dungeon air isn't made of water. Rename it to 'Fang' and describe it as a generic mutation. 'Slot' mutations, in my opinion, should be generic rather than tuned towards a specific form. Charge body is a nice idea (air magic needs something to replace static discharge). Wear skeleton is too silly. 'Meld skeleton' would be more fitting “The bones of the dragon meld into your body!”, giving a boost to AC depending on how many bones you meld but a reduction in dexterity and increase in strength. Hellvine I dislike; the player will be sitting their ass out whilst they get mobbed. For a level 6 spell this is not cheap enough to use in Lair. Crystallize is bad. Tentacles is nice, but not for a cloak slot. It should be a melee attack that constricts an opponent the same way the anaconda constricts you. Kyrie is a no. It does not make sense to be given divine status by 'transforming'. You're shape-shifting. No god will give a shit whether you look like an angel. They won't be giving you any divine favour. Chaos channel is way too expensive for something as weak as a 1. And with such a heavy drawback? Summon greater demon would be a much better investment and by the time you get 'Chaos channel' castable, you'll have summon greater castable. Bad idea. — studiomk 2010-07-30 21:11
  • Here is a proposed list of forms:
    • Shark Maw (Tmut 1, Morph) - replaces your head with a shark-head, giving you a nice secondary unarmed attack.
    • Stone Skin (Earth/Tmut 2, Morph) - should do more, but have a drawback. See below.
    • Spider Form (Poison/Tmut 3) - my favorite/best balanced form. Should get something more for having high poison magic skill.
      • There is the idea (for the spider branch) that spiders can walk on the walls. This would allow them to cross some water. It should also apply to spider form. — dpeg 2010-03-17 16:45
    • Black Fever (Fire/Necro/Tmut 3, Morph) - roughly, ghoul form, but more limited.
    • Charge Body (Air/Tmut 4, Morph) - saturates you with lightning.
    • Ice Form (Ice/Tmut 4) - needs additional bonuses for having very-high Ice skill to make it worth considering later in the game. Otherwise fine.
    • Blade Hands (Tmut 5, Morph) - border between “low level” and “high level” forms. Fine as is.
    • Wear Skeleton (Tmut/Necro 5) - gives you awesome bony armor, but requires a reagent. Should possibly create temporary items (bone armour and skull helmet) which you wear, and thus be compatible with other forms?
    • Statue Form (Tmut/Earth 6) - should have reduced drawbacks, and better bonuses for weapon wielders. The combo with stoneskin is silly, the statue was made of regular skin before?
    • Hellvine (Tmut/Poison 6) - Turn into the most poisonous plant.
    • Tentacles (Tmut 7, Morph) - Close off your cloak slot for a whole bunch of secondary attacks.
    • Crystallize (Tmut/Ice 7) - Ice Form on steroids, but permanently injures (rots) you each time you cast it or it is extended.
    • Dragon Form (Tmut/Fire 7) - Note decrease in level. Offensive benefits should rise rapidly with more fire magic.
    • Kyrie (Tmut/Air 8) - Transform into an angelic being and kick ass for the Lord. If you worship a Good god, this costs you some piety when you cast it. If you *don't*, you have a 50% chance of 1 pt of shining-one wrath. If you worship an Evil god, this is worse, you might get Zin wrath as well. OTOH, being an angel kicks ass so is probably worth it.
    • Necromutation (Tmut/Necro 8) - With other options that are good, you won't *always* be in lich form.
    • Chaos Channel (Tmut/Summoning 9, Demonic) - Invites a demon to possess you, turning you into a 1. Huge bonuses, but the demon malmutates you when it shows up or when the spell is extended; if the malmutation is blocked (somehow), the spell fails and you don't transform! As a side benefit, completely prevents hell effects (“something malevolent welcomes you” and similar messages).
  • Books for new forms:
    • Shark Maw should be in Changes, replacing Sticks to Snakes.
    • Charge Body should be in Tempests.
    • Wear Skeleton should be in Unlife.
    • Chaos Channel should be in Demonology.
  • Morphology should contain: Black Fever, Polymorph Other, Cigotuvi's Degeneration, Hellvine, Tentacles, Alter Self
  • Transfigurations should contain: Sandblast, Lee's Rapid Deconstruction, Statue Form, Dragon Form, Crystallize, Kyrie, Shatter

So, on to the forms:

Shark Maw

  • A 1st level transmutation spell to add to book of Changes.
  • Replaces your face with a shark maw, which closes your head slot but gives you a nice bite as a secondary unarmed attack.
  • This is a Morph, so it can be stacked with other Morphs but not with any other form.

Stone Skin

  • Should provide rRot (stone flesh doesn't rot, but no rN or rPoison) and +10% to hit points, and a significantly larger bonus to AC.
  • However, it should reduce your overland movement rate by 1 step, and increase weapon delays (including unarmed combat) by 2.
  • Compatible with weapons and easy to cast. Should possibly provide a small bonus to unarmed damage (since your fist is, after all, coated in rock).
  • The whole thing about stacking this with statue form is silly and should die.
  • This is a Morph, so it can be stacked with other Morphs but not with any other form.

Spider Form

  • This is my favorite and I don't think it needs to be changed much.
  • The base damage for the unarmed attack should rise slowly with poison magic skill, as should the amount of poison delivered by the bite, and the dexterity bonus for shifting form.

Black Fever

  • Provides rF+ and rN++, but does not technically make you undead.
  • Gives you Claws: 2, melding gloves but not precluding weapons, and your claws have the Pain brand.
  • Makes you Sick, and you stay Sick (with all associated drawbacks) for the duration-and-longer. Gives you the dietary benefits of being a ghoul (that is, you can eat anything, and chunks heal you).
  • Gives you involuntary berserkeritis: 1. This is meant for a drawback but needs testing - 1 level should be enough that you sometimes go berserk but can't rely on going berserk when you cast this spell.
  • Gives you a boost to your Str attribute, depending on Fire magic skill.
  • This is a Morph, so it can be stacked with other Morphs but not with any other form.

Ice Form

  • No-one uses Ice Form for the AC. The slaying bonus should rise with increased Ice Magic skill (but be where it is for Ice ⇐ 5 or so).
  • Unlike statue form, where the combo with stone skin is silly, Ice Form + Ice Armour makes a certain amount of sense, so can stay.

Charge Body

  • Provides rElec and rF+, no other resistances.
  • Melds your main body armour but leaves your other slots alone.
  • Large bonus to dexterity attribute — this will boost EV (as of 0.6+ with the dex uncapping), as well as reduce weapon delay and increase damage for dex-weighted weapons etc. Depends on air magic.
  • Unarmed attacks gain electrocution brand, as do weapons wielded if they have no other magic powers (or maybe even if they do, assuming they're made of conductive material? This sounds like too much work.)
  • Periodically generates interesting electrical effects. Enemies that hit you have a chance of being electrocuted (as the electrocution brand). With very high air magic, static discharges, lightning bolts and even ball lightning can be spontaneously generated, especially when you are surrounded by enemies who are all hitting you (building up “charge” for each hit.)
  • This is a Morph, so it can be stacked with other Morphs but not with any other form.

Blade Hands

  • Is fine as it is, and doesn't need any different drawbacks.
    • I disagree. Blade Hands is overpowered and close to a no-brainer for certain builds. I think it should come with a drawback (dpeg 2010-03-17 16:45). Here is what ##crawl-dev came up with
      1. Blade Hands cancels ring effects. I like that a lot, because it's an obvious, strong disadvantage.
      2. You cannot use wands while having blade hands.
      3. Increase the spellcasting penalty.
    • Having just played another 3 transmuters through to the late game, I've done nothing but reinforce my firm conviction that: — drpraetor 2010-03-31 05:41
      1. Blade hands is not overpowered, but is competitive with Ice Form and Spider Form for different applications. If you've been watching me play you'll note that Ice Form is really, really good. Having run some actual tests, Ice Form is better than Blade Hands against most opposition almost to the point where you switch to Necromutation.
      2. Blade Hands is a lot better than normal form, but it should be. Fire Bolt is a no-brainer too, but it doesn't need to be nerfed.
      3. Like Fire Bolt (no vs fire resistance), Blade Hands has a natural weakness inherent in it's nature. You have to stand *next to* the evil baddy in order to use it. Unlike fire bolt, blade hands does not make the precursor spells (Ice and Spider) irrelevant. So it's much better balanced than fire bolt. Did I mention that I think sticky flame is well balanced?
      4. If you want to give Blade Hands further drawbacks, give it a further advantage. The spellcasting penalty is already quite large and doesn't need to be increased just for yucks. So, if it melds rings and prevents zapping (which I can endorse for thematic, although not balance reasons), make the blade hands “blades” for purposes of stabbing.
      5. Reduce the overall damage somewhat and give it *Slice* (the now-largely defunct brand that raises damage by +25%). If the numbers are selected properly, this will make Blade Hands slightly weaker when you first get it, and slightly stronger later on (providing extra temptation to sometimes leave liche form.) Also, it will look cool because the screen will say: Blade Hands (slice!).
  • This is a Morph, so it can be stacked with other Morphs but not with any other form.

Wear Skeleton

  • Requires a reagent.
  • Melds the body armour and helmet slots, but those slots are *covered* for acid-hitting purposes. Provides a huge whopping bonus to AC, and a large bonus to HP as well. The AC bonus is synergistically boosted by armour skill. Probably the skeleton should be ablative — that is, as you take damage, the duration of the spell is decremented (in addition to just decrementing over time.)
  • Okay, how much monster hacking do we want to devote to making this awesome? Ideally, this would give you different powers depending on the source skeleton, including a variety of resistances, secondary attacks, etc. Winged skeletons should give you wings but meld the cloak slot in addition to the normal slots. This can get as funky as is desired; probably, the initial version of the spell should only notice size and wingedness, and future versions can be expanded to do more different things for different skeletons.
  • Provides rN++ and rRot, I'm thinking, regardless of source skeleton.
  • Should probably be compatible with other forms — so should possibly create virtual items (which you wear) instead of melding slots? You shouldn't have to sit through wear/unwear when you cast though… well, will need a fair amount of custom coding whichever way this is handled.

Statue Form

  • The benefits from having stoneskin up at the same time should be assumed, and both spells should not cast at the same time. This is not - accountant: the deducting, and it is just silly.
  • OTOH, casting Maxwell's Silver Hammer to make your fists *crush* would be cool, especially if Maxwell were an enchantment.
  • Also, provides an earth-magic-dependent slaying bonus for all melee attacks, and an earth-magic-dependent boost to Str (the unarmed combat damage should be reduced so that it actually stays roughly the same.)
  • Option 1 (not my preference) - Statue Form keeps the current Slow drawback, but provides rTorment and rMut, so that you cast it anyway.
  • Option 2 (my preference) - Instead of an all-around Slow, statue form lowers your overland movement rate by three steps, and increases attack delay for all weapons by 4 or so. Should still provide rMut, since one of the forms besides Lich should do so.
  • The natural AC provided by statue form, boosted by earth magic, should be treated as body armour AC by the armour skill.


  • You become a P.
  • You can't move, you have no slots except cap (limited) and amulet (yes, a plant can wear a hat but not a helmet.)
  • Your hit points increase by +50%. You get a sizable bonus to Dex (rises with poison magic), but you are quite large, reducing the overall effectiveness of dodge somewhat. You are immune to poison, torment, magical teleportation of any kind including banishment, and have a huge boost to your magic resistance generally. You are rF- and rC-, though.
  • You are a whirlwind of thorny death for anything that gets close to you, with *six* secondary unarmed attacks. Your vine whips do base damage +Poison Skill, and are ultra-poisonous like poison arrows.
  • You can throw needles as if you were wielding a blow-gun.
  • You regenerate very rapidly.


  • A huge host of tentacles sprout from your back, replacing your cloak slot.
  • You can use these tentacles to make reaching attacks (a special ability.)
  • Otherwise, they provide 3 or more secondary unarmed attacks whenever you attack something.
  • This is a Morph, so it can be stacked with other Morphs but not with any other form.

Dragon Form

  • Should be reduced to level 7.
  • Str should increase with fire magic skill, as should unarmed damage.
  • The natural AC provided by dragon form, boosted by fire magic, should be treated as body armour AC by the armour skill.
  • You should be treated as if wielding a staff of fire (so power is boosted for fire spells.) Your unarmed attacks should deal bonus damage as if you were wielding a staff of fire. Yes, that is a huge heaping helping of fire damage - which is the reason you gave up all your slots.
  • You turn into a really-cool dragon, and have rHellfire. Given that you don't also have torment immunity - and indeed have hardly any slots so you'll be hard-pressed to get even up to rN++, I don't consider it a problem to give dragon form rHellfire.


  • Turns you into an E, rather than an I.
  • Each time you cast this spell, “Crystallizing your bodily fluids damages you”, and you take 1-3 pts of permanent hp damage, and 0-1 points of str damage. This also happens when you extend the spell, but nice try.
  • Unlike Ice Form, you are still normal size and your remaining slots are cloak, boots, gloves. You can still wield weapons. Your hit points do not increase. Possibly you should be allowed to wear some armour, as some level of deformed body?
  • You are rN++, rF-, rC+++, clarity and rRot. You do *not* get rPois.
  • You *have no face*. This means you can “see” through all manner of clouds, but cannot read (scrolls, books etc.)
  • You are so cold that you trail freezing cloud behind you as you move.
  • The slaying and AC bonuses are larger than for ice form. Wielded weapons can benefit from the ice-form slaying bonus.
  • Your overland movement rate is slowed by 2 steps.


  • Is mostly fine as is, I think.
  • Your unarmed damage and str bonus should probably be determined by Necromancy skill — although they shouldn't be much higher than they are now at Necromancy ~15, which is the lowest value I've ever cast this spell with.
  • Is it really fine? It seems to me game-breakingly overpowered.
  • * Once you get it you have almost no reason to not always use it (except around rare Dispel Undead casters, and Ziggurat holy floors)
  • * The free Sif Muna channeling seems overpowered
  • * You can use Extension to make it permanent even with low Necromancy skill.
  • * On the other hand, if it is nerfed, spellcasters might need to be compensated somehow (e.g. hells might be too hard for conjurers otherwise due to the inability to rest without hell effects) — luca 2010-04-25 19:22
  • It's “very slightly” overpowered. ;-) It doesn't really need a nerf. Sublimation of Blood and the ball of energy are both better at recovering MP faster than through Sif's channeling. Besides, all other playable undead are capable of using that ability for free. The ability should be nerfed (probably by causing glow instead of hunger), not the spell. The devs are planning on removing the Extension spell, so that won't be a problem. You could remove it's special unarmed damage properties, since most people don't use it as a combat form. — demos 2010-05-05 09:09


  • Turn into a winged, angelic being. Lose your cloak slot, gain wings. You have the kenku flight advantages. You are ogre-sized, with the concomitant restrictions on worn body armour.
  • You get a halo. If you worship TSO, your halo just gets bigger.
  • You get rElec, rF++, rC++, rMut and stasis. Your hit points rise by 40% and you get an air-magic dependent bonus to Str and Dex.
  • Your unarmed attacks are holy, naturally enough.
  • “Evil” weapons will not let you wield them.
  • If you worship a Good god, each casting (or extension) costs you 1-4 piety, and has a (100 - new piety) / 100 chance of causing 1 point of Zin wrath, with the message “Improve thy worth before you don the mantle!”.
  • If you do not worship a Good god, but do not worship an Evil god either, each casting (or extension) has a 1/4 chance of invoking 1 point of the wrath of TSO, with the message “Thou wouldst done my mantle falsely? Heathen!”
  • If you worship an Evil god, each casting (or extension) has a 1/2 chance of invoking the wrath of TSO, with the message “Die, traitor and blasphemer!” as well as a 1/4 chance of Zin wrath with the message “Thou shalt be purified, false one!”.

Chaos Channel

  • Summons a demon and allows it to posess you. Fun at parties. Lose your cloak slot, gain wings. You are ogre-sized, with the concomitant restrictions on worn body armour.
  • When the demon possesses you it “makes itself comfortable in your body: ” and you get malmutated; likewise each time the effect is extended. If this mutation is somehow prevented, the demon leaves in a funk, and you don't transform (or you change back.)
  • You gain all the standard demon immunities - rTorment, rPoison, rRot, as well as rN+++, rF+ and rC+.
  • You gain a huge boost to your MR.
  • Your unarmed attacks are chaos branded.
  • You add your summoning skill / 3 to all your stats (including Int,) and 5 + (Summoning Skill) / 2 to your AC.
  • Your hit points double.

Other spell ideas for Transmutation

  • And here are some other transmutation spells that I'd like to add:
    • Rock to Mud (Tmut/Ice/Earth 2) - Fills a 5×5 area of floor with temporary mud, over which movement is way reduced for non-fliers. Smite targeting, of course. Will do wonders for survivability for earth elementalists.
    • Thunderlance (Tmut/Air 3) - Creates a (temporary) spear out of lightning, which you wield for the duration, or can throw, in which case it becomes a lightning bolt. The base characteristics of the weapon are determined by air magic.
    • Flame Blade (Tmut/Fire 3) - Creates a long blade, made out of fire, which you wield for the duration. Combo with the fire brand spell for extra damage. The base characteristics of the weapon are determined by fire magic. Unlike other transmuted weapons, cannot be thrown, but has slightly superior weapon characteristics.
    • Venom Thorn (Tmut/Poison 2) - Ideally, should require some kind of reagent, I'm thinking an arrow which you wield before casting. Anyway, makes an ultra-venomous temporary dagger, which you wield or can throw, you're getting the point.
    • Frost Cleaver (Tmut/Ice 3) - Creates an axe, made out of ice, which you wield for the duration or can throw. Combo with frost brand spell for extra damage. Maybe you have special dispensation to cast this in Ice Form? Needs thinking.
    • Skull Hammer (Tmut/Necro 4) - Creates an awesome-looking hammer with a frickin' skull on it, made from a skeleton (message when casting specifies that you wield it by the spine). Characteristics of the weapon depend on skeleton size, your necro skill. If thrown, comes to life (a small skeleton) and tries to kill whatever you threw it at. Feel free to brand it with the necro spell of your choice.
    • Wind Wall (Tmut/Air 5) - Creates a temporary, transparent wall, three spaces long, perendicular to the path of travel of the spell (but in a straight line.)
    • Freeze Water (Tmut/Ench/Ice 5) - 3×3 with smite targeting. Does two things. Living targets (assumed to contain water) take cold damage. Water squares become frozen and walkable, which is generally-rapidly lethal to any monsters submerged in them.
    • Detonate (Tmut/Earth 4) - Temporarily brands rocks with the explosion brand. Possibly should work with bullets as well.
    • I'd like to *remove* Maxwell's Silver Hammer - which should be an Enchantment, pretty obviously from the description.


I love this page. Comments though: need to get Dragon Form and Statue Form into usable state first before starting to add more spells. These ideas could also be used as non-spell effects: items, gods, etc..

Transmutations/Earth has a lot of spells, so synergy is there for that spell. I don't mind if the unorthodox Fire school for Dragon Form means it's hard to reach; it's ok that if a transmuter finds a staff of fire/manual of fire/brilliance potions, Dragon Form becomes viable only then. — evktalo 2010-03-01 16:05

What do you mean: get statue form into usable state ? I have a few wins with statue form. Have those people actually tried ? Or is it knee-jerk reaction to “slow” ? My wins have been with Makhleb, and Ogre Mages, who were better spellcasters than current Ogres are, though. I'll try some non-makhleb statues. b0rsuk
That's excellent news. — evktalo 2010-03-01 18:12
Shatter is a great spell, and deconstruction is nice if you get the power very high, but for other earth/tmut spells you don't particularly benefit from raising the spell power. This makes tmut/earth somewhat like ench/air - yes, there are a bunch of spells, but you don't need or want earth/air to cast them, you just want more tmut/ench. If you get your earth into the 20s you can cast Shatter and you can break metal walls with deconstruct, but this just isn't enough to justify the investment. You can win in Statue Form, no question. You kill an orb of fire and just live with the mutations. I have a bit of a focus on all-runes wins. I've tried statue form extensively, and while it is better than normal form, it really isn't good enough to take on 0.5+ Hell Lords, even in conjunction with berserk. — drpraetor 2010-03-02 04:44
So, statue form is not in usable state because DrPraetor said it's not enough against demon lords. Here are some other spells which I think fit the definition: Magic Dart, Throw Flame, Throw Frost, Summon Imp, Levitation, Fire Brand, Polymorph Other, Corona, Invisibility, Poisonous Cloud, Mass Confusion, Cause Fear… b0rsuk
I'm not the one who said it wasn't in usable state. I don't think it's competitive with blade hands; with berserk+blade hands you can do pretty well against a demon lord; or with berserk+ice form, for that matter (esp against Asmodeus if you have enough rF from rings to get to rF+). Dragon Form is not in usable state, though. — drpraetor 2010-03-02 07:50
Let's be clear what statue form actually does. You get roughly the same total damage output as blade hands (factoring in the slow), your AC doesn't change very much, your hit points rise tremendously, and you trade a couple of slots for rElec, rPoison, and some other resistances. This is a very good deal compared to normal form: as it should be. In exchange, it takes you x2 as many actions to heal yourself, blink away from danger, etc. This is *usually not* better than blade hands. It's later in the game, so the slot penalty costs you more, but it varies from game to game. Statue Form is a *lot* harder to cast than blade hands. I just don't think it's competitive with blade hands. — drpraetor 2010-03-02 08:01
I think extended end-game is a good yardstick; it would be great if an all-runer was doable with transmutations, while the spells would be balanced so that they don't make a three-runer trivial.
I take Blade Hands can be an all-runer spell then? One option with not being competitive with Blade Hands is to give Blade Hands a drawback that makes the other forms more appealing in some circumstances. But berserk+blade hands+investing in unarmed skill to make it viable (I assume this is needed) sounds sensible enough. Berserk+statue form+unarmed shouldn't simply supercede that of course.
The example of Ice Form against Asmodeus is excellent! Right form for the right job. I suppose Blade Hands is bad against the Learnean Hydra. :P — evktalo 2010-03-02 09:51
For an all-rune game, necromutation is pretty much better than all the other forms, if you can cast it. This is another major weakness of statue form: you don't want to boost your earth magic to 15, because then you'll never have the XP to boost your necromancy to 20. If you can't get Necromutation, then in hell/pan you alternate between blade hands, spider form and ice form; statue form isn't *useless*, if you can cast it you use it against blue deaths for example, but it isn't worth the investment in earth magic. — drpraetor 2010-03-02 15:07
I haven't played many transmuters, but I would just like to say that recently I saw wya's SETm take out Gloorx Vloq and Antaeus using statue form. — st 2010-03-02 18:40

That's a lot of ideas, and most of them sound fun (I especially love hellvine)! If you're gonna make a distinction between morph and form, though, I think you're using the wrong yardstick: Morphs should be spells that change just one thing, while forms have broader changes. Thus Blade Hands becomes a morph (and needs to be nerfed some to compensate–probably ring loss), and Charge Body and Black Fever should be forms (well I'm iffy on that last one). Anyways, other comments: You should make charge body just stick a elec brand on any unbranded melee attack and cast static discharge as you get hit (and boost EV/rElec of course). Keep it simple. Hellvine should definitely have -Tele if it wasn't the plan already; there should be NO getting out of there early. Crystallize sounds a tad boring but I'm probably underestimating freezing clouds. The transmuted weapons and Detonate sound super-fun, especially the throwing parts. I'd say venom thorn shouldn't have super-poison even though it's fine on hellvine (if you can't count the number of things in the game with super-poison on one hand there's too many). Note that the frost cleaver would be compatible with crystallize, so don't worry about ice form. Freeze Water and Rock to Mud should both use Hexes and the former should be temporary. Also, I'm giving Kyrie its own paragraph. It sounds fun IF you do the wrath thing right, which is to say balance the spell such that the user is expecting wrath. Zin Wrath isn't a good choice (recite is either meaningless or horrible in the kind of high tension situations where you NEED a spell like this, and the rest isn't high tension material) and it's best to be consistent so TSO should handle everything. I'd upgrade it to 50% chance if you're not a worshipper and guaranteed if you worship evil. Also, nerf the wrath to summoning instead of permanent enemies and cap the cleansing flame damage at a % of your health; the wrath should be an added tactical consideration in a probably-already-difficult situation, not an attempt to screw you over in and of itself. Duration should be short so you can't deal with the wrath and THEN charge into combat. Ultimately the tricky thing is balancing it so that it's powerful-but-risky if you don't worship but not overpowered if you do and have maxed piety. Maybe make it cost a huge chunk of piety if you worship good and cause twice the wrath if you're unworthy? Also, undead should be barred from casting Kryie entirely. — brickman 2011-05-08 23:39

Other people put their suggested forms below this line if you don't want to edit/comment on mine.

Transmutations as toggled spells.

  • Rather than having a set duration, make some/all transformations permanent until toggled off, but they lock down a portion of your mana bar until turned off.
  • The locked mana is lost when the spell ends.
  • Pros: Convenience, makes high level transformations more of a choice since that's 8+ mana you don't ever have for spells.
  • Less random than die-roll based durations.
  • Cons: Conflicts with Extension. Behaves differently than any other spells.
  • tuxedo_catfish 2010-4-13 13:22

Monstrosify (Tmut)

  • Transforms the player into a tentacled monstrosity.
  • The player becomes an X with a number of tentacles based on spellpower.
  • Merge armour, but gain rF+, rC+, rP+ and rElec, as tentacled monstrosity.
  • Minor speed reduction, minor health increase.
  • Number of tentacles based on spellpower.
  • Evoke tentacles for reaching or apportation.
  • Tentacle attacks have a chance to constrict.
  • Player is considered demonic for the duration of the spell.
  • Mu. 2010-03-17 00:38
I love it! — dpeg 2010-03-17 16:45
+1. Tentacles monstrosities should be able to wear hats, because I find this hysterical. — drpraetor 2010-03-31 05:41
I like this idea. Requires a constriction ability too. — studiomk 2010-07-30 21:26

Soulwarp (Tmut/Tloc)

  • Transforms the player into a living conduit to the abyss.
  • The player becomes a v.
  • Merge armour, but gain rF+, rC+, rElec, rP+, as spatial vortex.
  • Gain flying, MR boost, swiftness.
  • Attacks deal distortion damage, as brand.
  • Player is immune to the Tloc school and can not blink, teleport or be banished.
  • Player gains EV boost.
  • Player may reflect projectiles.
  • Mu. 2010-03-17 00:38


Melds the player with a wall. Grants invisibility, AC boost, and stealth boost, but taking any action will cancel the form. Requires a period of set up time (less set up than passwall). When melded, the player can passwall instantly (and gains a boost to passwall distance).

Melding with different types of wall will offer different resists. LOS could be reduced when using the spell. It should be used as a form of ambush and as a high cost escape method (meld + passwall).

Possibly allow melding with large boulders or turn it into a mimic style form (you leave a nice wand sitting out in the open for poor Nikola to pick up, then chop his head off when it turns out to be you). — studiomk 2010-07-30 21:26


How about something like NetHack's polymorph?

Either with player chosen monster, or perhaps as a “Chameleon form” that causes you to randomly polymorph between a level-dependent set of creatures (both with limits, say, never more HD than XL + 1 or 2, and increasing probability starting from 2/3 XL, with an average of XL).

Maybe in addition to this, a Chameleon species could also be added that would offer non-random polymorph.

This requires very non-trivial balancing of the polymorph mechanism, and I'm not sure it's really a good idea, but seems worth mentioning.

luca 2010-04-25 20:07

Elemental skill based Dragon Form

Dragon form should give you a form based on your elemental skills This will make the spell much more interesting, and similar to summon elemental.

The idea is that dragon form becomes a pure tmut spell. You turn into the various dragons depending on your elemental skill, tougher dragons requiring higher skill to be successful.

Here's my view on it.

  • No skill - Steam Dragon
  • 5 Fire - Mottled Dragon
  • 10 Fire - Normal Dragon
  • 10 Ice - Ice Dragon
  • 15 Air - Storm Dragon
  • 20 Necro - Shadow Dragon
  • 8 Poison - Swamp Dragon
  • 20 Earth - Iron Dragon
  • 20 Enchantments - Quicksilver Dragon
  • 20 Conjurations - Golden Dragon
  • Being Undead - Bone Dragon

That's my take on the skills requires but, obviously, if the idea is liked (and wanted) it would probably change. — studiomk 2010-09-09 22:15

With N78291's patch making Dragon Form a pure Tmut spell for draconians (who then get to transform into their base type of dragon, which includes all of them except Shadow and Bone), I think having it do something similar to this suggestion for non-draconians would be pretty cool. I don't know if that would be unfair for draconians who want to be a different type of dragon, although they do get the wizardry bonus casting it so maybe that evens it out. Draconians also just keep their existing breath weapons in the patch, I believe, so I don't know how that should work for non-draconians. — marvinpa 2010-10-21 13:07
Draconians get their breath weapon upgraded when they transform. — zchris13 2011-01-14 08:09
I like the idea a lot (certainly better than the status quo), but is it really necessary to use 5, 8, 10, 15, and 20? That's a lot of different skill levels. Rather, I think they should all be 10 or maybe 15. It might also be better to restrict it to just the elemental schools.
I picture “my” new Dragon Form as giving you a choice between five types of dragon when cast (automatically choosing plain dragon if you don't have 10 of any elemental skill):

* plain dragon (no breath weapon or resistances),

  • fire dragon (like the current Dragon Form, requires 10 Fire Magic)
  • ice dragon (rC++, rF-, cold breath, requires 10 Ice Magic)
  • storm dragon (rElec, lightning breath, requires 10 Air Magic)
  • earth dragon (rF+ rC+ and extra AC, no breath weapon, requires 10 Earth Magic)

> There's no iron dragon here, both because I don't think it would play well (unresistible breath and slow…) and because the iron/earth connection is tenuous. — minmay 2011-09-15 23:46

Okay, thinking about it again, this is a bad idea. It introduces breakpoints, is a bit complicated, and requires an annoying prompt. Instead, how about this: Dragon Form is pure Transmutation for everybody, and if you're not a draconian, you don't get any resistances or breath weapon. This is still a buff overall since it's much easier to cast. It could give a bunch more AC or something too in order to make it not way worse than the draconian version - the GDR is pretty worthless without AC itself anyway. — minmay 2012-05-04 20:41

Food requirements in transformed form

Right now, you can't butcher corpses in Spider Form. Any (un)natural animal should be able to feed itself. Maybe add vampiric-like blood drinking? — sinsi 2011-03-274 16:19

Statue form tweak

Statue form is OK, but not great. I propose the following for it:

  • Statue form should be ponderous, but not globally slow. Knowing that your movement takes longer is something easy to figure out the implications of. This isn't the case when all of your actions take longer.
    • Halving your movement speed seems appropriate to me (a flat reduction would be worse for nagas and better for spriggans).
    • This would have the side effect of making the spell more useful for Chei-ites.

> Uhm no, mere ponderousity is kind of boring here, having the real action cost be != 10 is a good thing.[citation needed] And a significant downside, which means the form can stand a lot of boosts. Plus, it's hard to explain why a slow statue should be able to fight fast or move it hands while casting fast. — kilobyte 2011-03-27 21:09

Cool circular reasoning, bro. It's a slow statue only because we haven't made it non-slow. Ponderousness makes sense: think of it like getting a lot stronger, but a LOT heavier, and being burdened simply carrying your own weight around. (Note also that slow moving monsters have been discussed with dpeg and letting them be ponderous rather than globally slow came up for kiting reasons, so it's not like the act speed reduction has to be done for speed symmetry to golems.) — eronarn 2011-03-27 23:45
Uhm, uncomfortable boots do make you slower but don't interfere with you moving your hands. Having stone arms does. — kilobyte 2011-03-27 23:57
Having stone arms only interferes with you moving your hands because we say it does. It doesn't have to, and even if it does, that doesn't have to manifest as a penalty to global action speed (remember, statue form even makes you talk slower as of right now). Make better arguments or go away. — eronarn 2011-03-28 00:02

* Right now, the available slots are weapon/cloak/helmet which seem quite randomly chosen. Statue form should allow all equipment slots, but not allow you to change equipment. In other words, you become a statue of what you were wearing at the time of casting.

  • Statue form should lose some AC to compensate for the above, since right now it's balanced around no slot access.

> I'd give it both increased AC and, more importantly, good GDR instead. — kilobyte 2011-03-27 21:09

Some GDR would make sense, but wearing armor in statue form is something that should definitely happen, and both +lots of AC and +lots of GDR would be too much on top of armor. — eronarn 2011-03-27 23:45

* The form's STR boost should be larger, but it should come with a DEX penalty. Unlike Stoneskin, you're turning completely to stone, and stone is simply not as fast. Consider it like the “stiff muscles” mutation.

eronarn 2011-03-27 18:42

Make “Sticks to Snakes” castable from inventory

Sticks to snakes can be made less fussy if it is castable from inventory instead of requiring you to wield the sticks. This especially benefits players who explore in shifted form. The spell could default by selecting whatever item you have quivered. If nothing appropriate was quivered, it could call up a menu just as evaporate does. — cjo 2011-10-31

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