Early Game Monster Balance

Name dcss:brainstorm:monster: early
Summary Adding new and different enemies to the early game.
Added by tgw
Added on 2010-10-10 19:18

Most of the early game monsters are vanilla melee with the numbers switched around a little, because there's not much you can add without destroying early characters. This page is for ideas to somewhat reduce that without making D:1 any more unfair than it is.

I fundamentally disagree with this. I think it's mid-late game that lacks variety and should be as varied as early game. In early game player is introduced to spellcasters, enchanters, ranged weapons, uniques, fast monsters, poison, hit&run monsters, invisibility, smite; monsters that use doors and those that don't. It is reasonable to expect early game as an introduction, since many players won't make it to the mid or late game. Also, player characters are the most flexible in the early game (skills that work), there aren't many monsters with rPois, rN+++, leaving no corpses etc. Meanwhile many late branches look like made from the same template. In early game, all wands, evokables and items just work and are valuable. — b0rsuk 2010-10-13 15:47
If it's not clear from context, I'm not talking about the “pre-lair” definition. I mean the first two or three levels. — tgw 2010-10-14 12:49
First and foremost the very early game needs options for player, not monster variety. You're talking about introducing new monsters and their abilities yet players often have no way to deal with snakes or hobgoblins. Except crossing fingers and pressing arrows. — b0rsuk 2010-10-14 14:19
I agree with both points. D:1 and 2 could stand to have more interesting monsters, but early game suffers from a lack of player options more than a lack of monster variety — danei 2010-10-14 15:37


Lifting a bit of material from dcss:brainstorm:monsters:new_monsters. Attacks you in melee, and has mephitic cloud as an escape spell.

It could have a different spell that shoots a single line of clouds at a target, which would make it more likely that the player can escape quickly.

A good (accidental) point here - there could be more variety in escape spells. I heard some monsters use Invisibility, but I haven't noted it. — Some other monsters could have a dangerous summon that attacks everything as a panic spell. b0rsuk 2010-10-13 15:47


More material from new_monsters. Fights in melee and counterattacks with spines (like the DS mutation).

Some Kind of Enchanter

Enchantments scale in power depending on the monster that uses them and the power level of the other monsters nearby, so it's not entirely unreasonable to have enchantments on D:1. Slowing, invisibility, etc. are fair. Corona is, too, and as a bonus it's not already used by much.

Also called Orc Wizard, the monster that kills more player characters than Orc Priest. As a side note, Crawl could use a set of interesting, but not immediately deadly enchantments for use against player, like Corona. — b0rsuk 2010-10-13 15:47


How about a scrappy little beast that isn't too dangerous as is but will charge at the player. It speeds up for every turn it spends charging, up to some limit (maybe just 2-3 increments). Once it is going fast it is slow to change direction (momentum). It may end up hitting a fellow monster. If it hits a wall it will be confused for a number of turns equal to its speed. Could also use this mechanic for bullfighting, rhinoceros, etc. Though I guess doing something with Yaks is more in theme. tigen 2010-10-12

The current D1 monster set is surprisingly varied considering that the player has zero resources. Bats dart around, oozes are slow tanks, goblins and kobolds are potentially ranged and branded, roaches and geckos are fast, small snakes are poisonous, etc. There's actually very little redundancy on the first floor, especially compared to later areas.

Giving D1 monsters special abilities would make the early game even more luck-based - how is a character that probably can't 1v1 a hobgoblin going to handle confusion, spines, being charged in a corridor, getting slowed, or an invisible opponent? Such abilities shouldn't show up until the player has some chance to accumulate some tools of his own - it'd be like having Sigmund on D1 every game. The warthog mechanic does sound fun, though. — og17 2010-10-13 01:35
I'm surprised by the opposition I meet whenever I mention things like giving all characters a single Teleportation scroll or other tool. Or how about a Berserk-like ability which affects only movement speed. As it is, fighter types have almost no options early. — b0rsuk 2010-10-13 15:47
How is a character that can't 1v1 a hobgoblin (read: a monster able to kill any character in two hits with any weapon) automatically going to roll over to a skunk that confuses you *while it is escaping?* Why would they roll over to any random invisible asshole or while getting corona'd/slowed? — tgw 2010-10-13 03:12
An invisible newt would be dangerous to a new character, and does reduced dodging and slow really need an explanation? Also here is a skunk: lead the thing to an isolated area (because D1 needs more running away), try to kill it, get confused as it flees, hope that you don't die while you're wounded and disabled, repeat. It's plain to see how this makes the early game more interesting (never mind that there's a reason monsters don't flee on D1). — og17 2010-10-13 04:03
Invisible newts aren't dangerous. Feel free to test it or whatever. — tgw 2010-10-14 12:49
“It hits you ! Whaaat ?” When orc wizards first appear, players get a hint (“The orc wizard flickers and vanishes !”). Only later are unseen horrors introduced. So players are not completely surprised and know, for example, they can attack invisible creatures. When a complete newbie encounters an invisible newt, he won't know for sure it's an invisible enemy. Maybe something is shooting him from behind ? From the darkness ? Is it a trap ? It would be a potentially dangerous, irrational precedent, because player would be led to expect irrational behaviour without explanation. It might also induce paranoia. You could, of course, introduce new one-time messages like god warnings or autopickup deactivation, but bleh. — b0rsuk 2010-10-15 06:40
Invisible newts would be potentially dangerous if only because they could be walking behind you and you wouldn't even know until you start backing away from a hobgoblin in a corridor and run into an invisible newt that takes you at least a couple of turns to kill (because it's invisible and hard to hit) while the hobgoblin smacks you around. — danei 2010-10-15 15:16
You have completely missed b0rsuk's point. The problem is not that they are dangerous, but that they would be very confusing for new players. — galehar 2010-10-15 17:19
My response was not directed to b0rsuk as evidenced by the number of greater-than signs I used. In any case, I don't care whether invisible newts or newt-equivalents are used or not. I'm just saying they would be dangerous now and then. — danei 2010-10-15 17:38
You realize nowhere on this page is proposed an invisible enemy, right? Everybody stop being ridiculous. — tgw 2010-10-15 21:03

Unstable jelly

A slightly debuffed (stat-wise) version of the jelly which never splits. Instead, it has a chance of exploding (like a spore) when it eats an item. Can be used as an first taste of both jellies and giant spores, can be used tactically against other monsters by throwing darts onto its path rather than at it.

A jelly when player may not even have had a chance to pick up a weapon ? I'm not against jellies, but in mid game. Brown oozes could fit if no one wants to make them unique enough to fit into Slime Pits. — b0rsuk 2010-10-15 06:40
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dcss/brainstorm/monster/concept/early.txt · Last modified: 2011-12-22 18:48 by XuaXua
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