Twisted Resurrection

kilobyte: Currently, this spell is hardly used because it involves lots of manual work: you need to gather a number of corpses and stack them on a single square. This is thematic (gathering corpses is what necromancers do!), but is an UI nightmare.

I propose doing the following changes:

  • all corpses and chunks in view are turned into animated body parts
  • body parts crawl around, trying to gather together
  • to prevent being used as cheap meat shield, base body part is toadstool weak. A bigger pile (several chunks or a larger corpse) has more hp but still isn't otherwise useful.
  • only upon reaching the abomination threshold the body parts get an attack
  • they can attach to an existing abomination, increasing its hp and ultimately upgrading into a X. If we skipped this part, large abominations would require micromanaging piles of corpses, something we don't want to do.

I absolutely support this. It is a good case of an interface improvement also adding flavour. — dpeg 2010-01-25 01:30

I love the part about bodies crawling around and gathering. Creepy and very fitting in addition to be a nice, micromanagement reducing mechanic. b0rsuk

Ignoring the creation process completely, Twisted Resurrection is innately flawed, as since you need several dead enemies to replace one lost minion, abominations either steamroll everything and become more and more powerful or are whittled away and become more and more unviable. I haven't tried them in Shoals, but going from personal experience in .5.2 and trunk, Swamp:5 is the first time you'll lose any significant number of abominations, Snake:5 is the first time you'll lose the majority, and early-mid vault is the first time you'll be unable to replace what's left of your forces (adjust this for your personal playing order). At the same time, the orcish mines, rest of snake and swamp, hive, and elf 1-6 are jokes, and most any unique you catch is going to be swallowed alive.

Abominations need a lot less all-or-nothing and a lot more staying power - instead of only considering power and corpse weight, I think you could try having abominations scale with component monster HD, which should better level the spell out at all stages of the game. Currently, it's easy to collect dozens of abominations early on, but you'll find that these have to last, as once you reach areas where they start dying, they're going to die increasingly faster than they can be replaced. But if abominations went by HD, so tougher areas generally produced tougher abominations, replacement abominations would be more powerful than the abominations you came in with. This should be able to be balanced to create a more reasonable progression of abomination effectiveness, which, by the same token, would mean that early abominations would be more sensibly tuned to early areas that have overall lower HDs. Creating a massive stockpile of abominations is a mess to manage, regardless - it'd be better if the idea was to have abominations die and be created throughout the game, having a more or less constant total number of minions throughout, but that's not realistic under the current system.

Another issue is that while having one of the necromancy companion types regenerate is a good idea, having them heal slowly over time is not. Abomination regeneration encourages extended periods of sitting around so as not to lose increasingly-hard-to-replace permanent companions that rely on numbers - between herding and healing, I had a mummy waste tens of thousands of turns between late lair and early vaults, which is boring and scummy and any number of things. Building off the creation proposal, I suggest some combination of:

  • A damaged “mature” abomination absorbs animated body parts to heal, which may be implicit in the proposal, though then there's the question of when a part would go towards building a new abomination, when it would strengthen an existing immature one, and when it would heal an existing mature one.
  • Large abominations swallow small abominations to heal (currently, small abominations are worse than useless, as they die quickly and keep large ones from stairways and enemies).
  • Abominations are effectively amorphous. Sufficiently damaged large abominations become small abominations and sufficiently damaged small abominations become progressively smaller non-attacking lumps, which would in turn merge back into progressively larger lumps, progressively stronger small abominations, and progressively stronger large abominations. To prevent endless shifting of mass, full-strength abominations don't split, but two wounded large abominations merge into one large abomination with any leftovers becoming a small abomination or lump, depending on remaining bulk. I think this path is best flavor-wise, though I don't know if it'd be too noisy in practice.
  • As an alternative take, abominations have rapid regeneration that stops for a number of turns after the abomination takes damage, though care would need to be taken that Recall and numbers wouldn't shuffle them enough to effectively remove the penalty. e: Actually, this would work much better if abominations were linked - if one takes damage, they all stop regenerating for a number of turns. Flavor's a question, but it eliminates any abuse.
  • Abominations are defeated but not completely destroyed. Once defeated, they fall down and start to regenerate. Most enemies will leave them alone (in fact, can step over them) and go after other targets. Left undisturbed for a while, abominations pick themselves up and follow the player again. So abominations could become easier to defeat, but harder to destroy completely. As a side effect, this could make Apportation more valuable, it could be used to save player's abominations from outright destruction. The idea is not new. Enemy Territory: Quake Wars goes as far as to make automatic turrets break down at 2/3 of health total, at which point they're usually ignored by players. Usually it's not worth spending a lot of time and ammo to destroy them totally. Once the threat is over, the turrets can be repaired back to full. b0rsuk

I feel that the current “lot of manual work” of corpse-stacking is basically a non-issue in comparison to the above, as no matter how interesting abomination creation might be, they still need to be consistently and suitably powerful and not be a chore to use. I certainly do support the proposal, but the spell has deeper problems. og17

I did some tests in the arena, and it appears that two small abominations have nearly exactly the same combat power as one big one. Also, in some cases xx are more useful (when you want more distraction for the enemies), and in some cases, X is better (when you want fighting power in corridors). Thus, I'm not sure if providing control over creating many small vs few big ones is that important.

For og17 suggestion of making the quality depend on the components' HD instead of mass, I'm all for it. — kilobyte 2010-04-07 11:08

By andy: I absolutely love this idea. I try to love TR, I really do, but as kilobyte said, it's to much work in current form (plus I can just “Animate Dead”, so instead of 1 abomination for 3 corpses I get 3 zombies for 3 corpses.) To save you developers some time, could you modify the Slime merging/unmerging code to merge TR-ed corpses and chunks? Heh heh, I can just see a swarm of chunks, like summoning “Thing” (the severed hand) from the Addams Family to play!

I also think it might be good to buff Abominations somehow. Like I mentioned, the math doesn't currently work out when compared with Animate Dead (which also gives a meat shield of minions that *attacks*). Thus, an Abomination should be comparable in abilities to the number of corpses/chunks incorporated into the Abomination. If I've invested the said 3 (humanoid, for sake of argument) corpses into my Abomination, I'd really like to have that Abomination able to take and deal damage comparable to 3 humanoid zombies.

Sorry if I'm beating a dead horse, but sometimes I'm not clear. I do admit I don't know how Abominations currently stack up against normal zombies, but they don't seem worth as much as a zombie horde. Good idea, kilobyte, good job, developers!

“There is only one word of terrible power in Dungeon Crawl, guaranteed to happen if even your thoughts stray and alight upon it.

This word is:


*screams of “Oh god, not again!! I did NOT hit that button!” echo in background*

andy 2011-06-29 23:13

Abominations are way better than zombies. Sure it's useful to have a few weak minions knocking around as meat shields, but abominations can travel with you from one level to the next, and do way more damage. I cleared out Lair and most of Swamp with my pack of 8 or so; can you honestly take down multiple hydra with zombies? — mumra 2011-07-19 17:55

andy 2011-08-24 21:22 Hey, a fellow Thundercats fan! To be honest, I deal with hydras by burning/draining them to death, cut them into chunks, and use Simulacrum. It's much easier to deal with one or two hydras with 3-6 hydra simulacra (which have the added freeze damage to EACH attack.) Summon Ugly Things is also interesting: I just want “Twisted Resurrection” to be more useful and interesting if the programmer's are going to make me lug corpses from all over the dungeon. Otherwise, I'm sticking with Animate Dead, Simulacrum, and summoning spells. The catch is that I don't WANT to stick with these spells: I want a good reason to use TR, and kilobyte's suggestion both (A) is very fascinating from a “player-has-helpless-laughter-cause-this-is-so-gross-and-cool!” standpoint, but it also would save me from dragging that stupid pile of bodies around with me. As a magic user, I don't really have the Strength (especially in the early game) to carry a bunch of bodies around: this takes time, and time takes energy, and energy means I get hungry, etc. DCSS is specifically designed to force people to advance through the game, so TR is rather problematic unless I'm playing as a Mummy Necromancer.

— Hey, I just spent (part of) the weekend playing the 11/11/11 release of DCSS, with this new Twisted Resurrection implemented: I now have a new favorite Necromancer spell! Thanks, guys, it's AWESOME!! Plus it's really funny to watch monsters chase after little giblets, have the giblets merge, turn around and kill the ex-pursuer. You've redefined R.I.P. to “Rise in Pieces”. ;) — andy 2011-11-14 20:59

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