Name dcss:brainstorm:monster: spriggans
Summary Spriggan monsters
Added by kilobyte
Added on 2010-05-14 15:39

The proposed Forest branch would have spriggans play the same role as elves in Elf or merfolk in the Shoals.

Note that even through we have quite a few ideas for that branch's contents, the difficulty of it is yet undecided. For example, my idea was to put it around D:25, harder than Elf:7 but easier than V:8 – someone else wanted deep Lair instead. This uncertainty makes discussion about balance fuzzy…

The theme for that branch is a warped enchanted forest, with aspects both of Fedhas and Lugonu.

Between elf and V8 sounds good to me - a player at the end of lair can pick from at least orc, the two lair-based branches, and the dungeon, but a player at this point of the game has fewer options. — og17 2010-05-16 16:34
Spriggans currently struggle to deal with innate factors giving them exaggerated weaknesses already seen in elves: low hp, high ev, and big dangerous attacks let auto-hit or area-of-effect spells deal with spriggans very easily and quickly, while everything else struggle. Stat exaggerations could use some work.

Base spriggan

A short blade, perhaps a robe. No striking features.

“No striking features” is not good, in my opinion. I assume that high speed, high evasion and little health was all implied? — dpeg 2010-05-14 20:06
They also currently have see invisible, according to Gretell. — mrmistermonkey 2010-05-14 20:38
Base monsters should stay simple – having whatever features are common to all members of the race but no more. They don't have to be physically present (like that's the case for elves), but as with orcs in Orc and merfolk in Shoals, bases are not bad as mooks. — kilobyte 2010-05-15 00:44

Spriggan druid

A worshipper of Fedhas. Too bad, most of player invocations are unsuitable for an AI, and thus we need to design other spells.


  • Sunray: a conjuration, consistent with those at level 6. Does extra damage to vampires. Can be completely avoided with invisibility. Quite inaccurate, but ignores RMsl/DMsl. We may give metallic armour a small chance of reflecting it.
    • Is the idea that sunray ignores invisible targets because the light passes through? That's inconsistent with every other light-based effect in the game. — og17 2010-05-14 23:28
      • That is wrong.Toxic radiance works like this. —andorxor 2010-05-16 15:51
        • Fine then, toxic radiance is also inconsistent with every other light-based effect in the game. I'm no crawl physicist, but I'd imagine that “sunray” would have more in common with the less poisonous sort of light used by corona, holy auras, and sunlight, regardless. — og17 2010-05-16 16:18
          • And i think that a damage causing light effect has more in common with another damaging light effect,than with marking light effects — andorxor 2010-05-17 09:25
  • Awaken Forest: for a duration, does damage to any enemy adjacent to a tree if both are in the druid's LOS. Messages mention trees reaching out and smacking you with branches, tripping with roots, etc.

Other ideas:

  • corpses → plants: it may be possible to do this as a two-stage spell. Still, it would be tricky for it to behave well against Fedhas worshippers.
  • Vines: just rebranded “Slow” with messages mentioning vines entangling your feet.

Instead of mimicking Fedhas' abilities, I'd suggest to draw upon the theme — dpeg 2010-05-14 23:19:

  • They can walk and shoot through plants. (Perhaps this should hold for all spriggans.)
    • The code assumes no two monsters occupy the same spot in hundreds of places. While a good thing to have (for druids, not all spriggans), it would require large code changes.
  • Druids can conjure plants.
  • They could sacrifice themselves to become oklobs.
    • Maybe this could have a chance of happening when they die, like with the plant magically sprouting from their corpse? I don't at all trust the AI with sacrificing itself. However, I'd suggest that new plant monsters be added to the game for this branch, as slime already serves as a major corrosion hazard, and not being able to find rCorr shouldn't lock away two areas of the game anyway (at least not if the branch is placed at a similar difficulty with slime). Oklobs are always welcome, but they shouldn't be overly common, I think. — og17 2010-05-16 16:29
I agree with Dpeg, and using Fedhas here does more harm than good if the monster abilities are significantly different than the actual god's (never mind if they're hardly going to bear any resemblance at all). It'd be better to take a cue from the deep elves and have druids call upon some nameless nature god, in that case. — og17 2010-05-14 23:44
There is currently no connection to Fedhas except for messing with plants. We don't have to duplicate the abilities, but there's probably no space for two gods with identical portfolios but different invocations. So we may just avoid mentioning any gods and it will be ok. — kilobyte 2010-05-15 00:44

One thing associated with druids, which Fedhas does not do, is communing with/summoning/controlling animals. Spriggans are bad at summoning, but Tame Beasts is an enchantment spell, and a forest should have lots of animals in the first place. What if the forest is full of neutral beasts, but there's a Spriggan type (possibly druid) with Tame Beasts to make those suddenly hostile? — squashmonster 2010-05-19

This is cute, and keeping in the spirit of the Tame Beasts spell, neutral animals should automatically become hostile towards undead (or lichform) players. There's a big problem with initially neutral monsters, though, and that's that the best course of action would be to just kill them all anyway, which would mean that the player would always get advantageous positioning and the first strike. — og17 2010-05-19 03:25
That is an issue. Attacking one of the neutral animals should make all the nearby animals go hostile, and possibly make noise (the helpless bunny lets out a blood-curdling scream!). That fixes a lot of it, but not all of it. As long as good gods get annoyed by you attacking neutral creatures though, I think it works out enough to try. If it proves to be a problem, killing neutral animals could invoke the retribution of some unnamed forest god. Fedhas needs a more animally counterpart eventually anyway. — squashmonster 2010-05-19 04:29

Spriggan assassin

Nasty stabber.

These guys would require implementing monster stealth:

  • every turn you get an awareness roll. I tried to come up with a table of racial values – but the results were identical to aptitudes for Stealth. So, we can take the T&D skill and Stealth aptitude… If you succeed the roll just once, the monster's cover is blown.
  • can re-hide but only out of LOS
  • won't stab summons, not sure about permanent allies
  • immune to clouds while hidden, we simply pretend he's not there
    • It might be better to push the monster outside of the cloud radius as part of this, so that it wouldn't suddenly appear next to the player in situations where it obviously wouldn't have had enough time to walk over. — og17 2010-05-16 16:39
  • walking into the monster's square will silently move it aside (they'd have to be smart about you moving towards them)
    • Why wouldn't it attack as soon as you're adjacent? e: If you're hasted, I guess? The game could give the stealthed monster a freebie in that case, so that it gets an attack in no matter how fast you are - the player wouldn't notice anything strange about it. — og17 2010-05-16 17:04
  • I do not like monster stealth. This seems difficult to foresee or avoid in gameplay, which is unfun, and it clearly introduces a bunch of technical problems. — tgw 2010-05-19 20:57
I think I've mentioned this a couple of times in IRC, only just remembered to post it here: rather than implement monster stealth and stabbing (which I think could be problematic, stabbing in particular), I like the idea of having assassins try to move like wandering mushrooms do (stalk you but stay out of LOS - since additionally they'd be fast, and could actively try and leave your LOS if you spot them?) and then only move in to attack if you are low on health, or affected by negative status, or other monsters are nearby, etc (and blink towards you, or use needles to assist the other spriggans?). This would give the player time to react to their presence (heal, use an escape item) but ensure that they get to take advantage of the player being weak or vulnerable somehow. — marvinpa 2011-03-04 17:12
  • Alternate mechanic proposed by Grunt: have them maintain_range with a blowgun and the stabbing needles, close in with a dagger given a nasty brand when detecting the player is debiliated.

Technical proposal

What we want:

  • no information should be leaked from the behaviour of any non-stealthed monster, be they friend or foe
  • degenerate play like keeping a bunch of spammals/butterflies around you all the time should give no benefits

These constraints make things quite complicated. Here's a possible solution, with lots of artificial behaviour:

  • stealth monsters are not present in the mgrid
  • there's a single-bit map – any square may have one normal monster and one stealthed one
  • they move through your allies (variant: summons or all allies) like through thin air
  • if they reveal themselves (stab or failing a stealth roll), they recursively push aside the monster at their current position. If that fails, we silently pretend they didn't want to stab yet / didn't fail the roll
  • normal monsters move through stealth monsters, yet stealth monsters don't move through normals. If there's someone from their side on their square, they don't get a turn at all. (variant: no stealth roll / easy stealth roll in such a case)
  • ditto for clouds: being in a harmful cloud inhibits the turn. Do we want to move them aside instead?

Spriggan mage

No design yet. Alternate ideas welcome.

I'd suggest that druids take the place of mages - the job doesn't need to be a given, and there's no lack of mages/wizards in other species. — og17 2010-05-14 23:46

I'd prefer to have enchanters, but it's hard to find enough good decent enchantment spells which would fit. — kilobyte 2010-05-15 00:44
Enchanter could be a purely supportive job, with things like petrify/(mass?) confuse/sleep(/paralyze?)etc against the player and invisibility/haste/etc for friendlies. It could have unique spells similar to the orc battle cry, too, and effects that temporarily lower the target's defenses - I think there's a lot of possibilities here. — og17 2010-05-15 01:29
There aren't many monsters that cast support spells. Focusing on enchantments for its friends would be a good tactical change from the usual monsters. If it casts invis/haste/might on its friends and no other monsters in this branch are casting those spells on themselves, then this becomes a really unique problem for the player. — squashmonster 2010-05-19 02:09

Spriggan defender

A melee guy, often with a lajatang or one of the few other bigger sprigganable weapons.

This guy is already boring - would it be possible for its attacks to shift its target a square away from any ranged/supporting spriggans that said target is adjacent to? (Prioritizing the enchantress, perhaps?) Characters would remain adjacent to the defender afterwards - they'd basically be temporarily orbitting around the defender, if that helps describe things. — og17 2010-05-19 03:25
Maybe give it the injury bond spell?

Spriggan warper

Probably a bad idea. Potential abyssing is a good danger but shouldn't be overdone – and you'll find plenty of quick blades of distortion under your fifth rib already.

There's a number of rarely-seen translocations effects that aren't banishment, and unique ones could be created for the monster - this isn't a reason to avoid the theme. — og17 2010-05-14 23:46
A stasis effect or spell in some form would be easily flavourable, unique, and very nasty, considering the strength inherent in player haste (and berserk)

Spriggan archer

Has a bow and arrows, but also has portal projectile. Fits with Spriggan aptitudes, plus it can greatly complicate encounters with swarms of enemies (and I assume somewhere in this forest you'll get mobbed by woodland creatures). It could also have blink, but that might be too mean.

Propose changing “archer” to “ranger” and allowing slings too, which also fits with spriggan apts (and sling users are quite rare in the dungeon compared to the other ranged options.

The Enchantress

The boss of this place. Killing her disables the Enchanted Forest.

She wears a randart with fixed appearance: “faerie dragon armour”. The story is that mottled dragons had a subspecies, faerie dragons, with far livelier colours – but where peacocks managed to somehow avoid getting extinct, these dragons failed. It will always have a positive enchantment, and many randart properties (mostly negative) are forbidden.

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dcss/brainstorm/monster/creatures/spriggans.txt · Last modified: 2013-03-28 15:15 by Claws
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