Ballistomycetes

On IRC the suggestion was made to remove ballistomycetes for the game. Here are some points for and against this proposal.

What are ballistomycetes?

Ballistomycetes are monsters found in the early Dungeon. They are generated by giant spores. They have an average of 26 health points (if health points are reduced to zero, a monster is destroyed/murdered), and if there is one ballistomycete remaining on the map, it activates, making more spores.

Why should they be removed?

Ballistomycetes aren't threatening.

They take time to get rid of in a level.

They can generate out of sight and proliferate even if you cannot reach them (in a blocked off area).

They give you a lot of experience for the dungeon depth.

Spores can generate after you have fully explored a level in the dungeon. If you return to the same level in the game and leave the spores alone and alive, they can spread through the level, making travel difficult and slightly dangerous; the explosion of a spore of course confuses and damages you (about 24 damage on average).

Item 2

Destroying all ballistomycetes generated from a spore yields five hundred experience points (which are used to gain experience levels, making your character more powerful). In the early Dungeon, this is as much as five kills of difficult monsters, such as ogres, wolves or elves).

Destroying ballistomycetes is tedious. They aren't dangerous if you use a ranged weapon (stones from a sling will kill it in a maximum of 16 turns).

Killing a ballistomycete resets the timer for generation - simply travel to the last ballistomycete and destroy it first to make sure no spores attack you, then kill the rest with a sling (a weapon which throws stones as ammunition).

Giant spores have 1 HP and 0 AC, so Magic Dart (a spell that subtracts one to eight health points from a monster and cannot miss) can kill them easily if your character is three squares away from a ballistomycete.

Point B

Arguments for keeping them are that there aren't any stationary summoners that create clones. Rakhasas (monsters that create clones that wield the same weapons) ice and silver statues (immobile enemies with high health and the ability to cast magic) summon creatures, generated summoners which can summon creatures with Shadow Creatures (??blue_death[3]). The latter is probably emergent behaviour, not intended behaviour, so largely irrelevant).

In addition, they present a tactical challenge; they increase the difficulty of a level. Ballistomycetes are only dangerous if active and in proximity. Only the spores that can harm you.

I rather like ballistomycetes. True, they're a bit of a gift in terms of the XP they grant, but it does take a good deal of turns to actually earn that XP. I think the glowing trail of mold leading you to the rest of the colony is an awesome effect, and the connect-the-dots minigame it induces is fun. I would like to see a gentle increase in spore generation, however, maybe as a result of engaging another ballistomycete nearby. It can take dozens of turns to wipe out a colony, but in all the colonies I've destroyed, I've maybe twice ever seen a spore generated from a ballistomycete in LOS. Spores can pose great danger if encountered while fighting other monsters, especially for characters who lack ranged competency. On the other hand, they pose a great tactical opportunity to those who can manage to detonate a spore in close proximity to their enemies. (It may even be possible to manage a spore farm for that very purpose, though this would be ridiculously difficult and Fedhas-generated olkob farms are much more practical.) — rriegs 2011-08-09 19:13
I agree with rriegs. They are one of the most interestingly designed creatures in the game and it would be a waste to just get rid of them. That said, they are much to easy given the exp they give. Perhaps the solution is to increase the number of spores they produce if they come under attack. Or should they have some other means of attack as well as spores? Maybe you could have them spawn “mold zombies”, dead creatures reanimated by the mold. Off screen there would be a chance of mold zombies being spawned based on the number of Balistomycetes while on screen they reanimate any corpses that die on the mold.— rosetintedglasses 2011-08-10 01:06
or even when a spore encounters a corpse it turns it quickly into a ballistomycete without losing the spore (and potentialy generating a new spore). — rfholloway 2011-08-19 14:51
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dcss/brainstorm/monster/creatures/spore_generators.txt · Last modified: 2011-12-22 18:58 by XuaXua
 
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