Skill Mastery Abilities

Name dcss:brainstorm: skill_mastery
Summary Special bonus for skills at 27
Added by minmay
Added on 2011-05-01 15:11

For most skills, it is simply not worth it to train them all the way to 27. Recent experience system changes compounded this problem (levels 20 to 27 are actually more expensive now). Raising skills to 27 could be made more attractive by giving special bonuses for it.

Levels above 21 are more expensive, but since level 15 to 20 are much cheaper, the new scale only catches up with the old one at level 27. Up to L26, total cost is lower. A perk at L27 would be good anyway, but we still need to fix a few formulas so that the higher levels are rewarded (not just L27). — galehar 2011-05-13 09:30

Things to avoid:

  • activated abilities
  • boosts that would be the same as simply having a skill higher than 27 (Stealth 27 shouldn't just give you extra stealth)
  • disadvantages (the opportunity cost is enough)

Proposed effects

No mastery effects

I propose that there are no mastery effects, ever.

Reasoning: Crawl already rewards specialization too much. Attaching a numerical value to every skill has benefits, like easy to implement skill boosters and learn-by-use. It also has downsides. I'll name a few: Slings, Traps&Doors, Evocations, Venom Magic. A designer sees a skill like this and things “Wow, this skill is useful early but largely pointless later. We need to fix this. We need to fix this by adding late-game items requiring high levels of this skill.”. And the result ? Items are added not because they're fun for player, but because a skill needs them. Would you be excited by a Greater Wand Of Fire which requires Evocations 15 ? Does a more damaging fire bolt sound interesting ? I think games should be optimized for fun and decisions. If sling is a less capable weapon than a bow, don't try to find a way to negate that. If daggers have much shorter reach than swords, don't try to compensate with rate of fire. As Lemuel says, skills shouldn't be interchangable.

Daggers could be useful when wrestling/constricted. Slings could be used to throw heavy objects farther. I would remove the Evaporate spell and make it a sling/throwing property. Regular throwing could have its range reduced to, say, 3-4 squares (for gameplay). Or make stones ricochet. Maybe the solution to low value skill is to cap them. Cap Slings at level10, Evocations on 15, Traps&Doors at 8.

End of rant — b0rsuk 2011-06-08 12:02

This is about skills nobody trains past 25, not skills nobody trains past 10. At the moment, raising a skill from 26 to 27 has an absolutely ridiculous cost for the benefit it provides - even if you are using Tornado, you are unlikely to actually want 27 Air Magic. Of course, this could also be fixed without fancy gimmicks like mastery effects by simply making the experience cost curve less absurdly extreme, and getting rid of stuff like reaching minimum weapon delay before 27 skill. — minmay 2011-06-08 18:21
I have to agree here that these perks don't sound like the right solution. Abilities are available throughout the skill progression that get better and/or more reliable with each level of the skill, Skill 27 should be no different - it doesn't seem to fit that unique bonus abilities would suddenly be available, unless there were a variety of abilities that got unlocked throughout the skill progression. — mumra 2011-07-11 21:02
In my opinion the primary advantage of perks is that every single skill point you spend has noticeable effect on gameplay. At least 3 perk-based systems are possible: 1) Heroes 5 like skill tree, meaning skill X unlocks skill Y and Z, 2) Mostly unrestricted perk system, like Fallout or ADOM where only some perks have prerequisites 3) Diablo 3 like system: you have to buy X perks of tier 1 to get access to perks from tier2, etc. Meanwhile Crawl's system is good when things are easy to scale. Damage dealt, chance to dodge, magic skills. Traps&Doors… not so much. I don't care about traps all that much in later game, only Zot and Shafts can really threaten me. Sometimes Teleportation. Maybe if Traps&Doors allowed to pass through teleportation traps. Not Stasis amulet. Mixing the two systems… I don't know. Feature envy ? :-).
This borders on heresy, but maybe the same treatment as branches are getting ? Limit less useful skills, cut some levels ? We would lose the nice-looking 27, but Invocations really need level 27 ? How about Traps&Doors ? Poison Magic ? — b0rsuk 2011-07-13 20:19

I agree that there should be no bonus for mastery. Rewarding skill mastery only promotes playing degenerately. Do we really want putting 27 into conjurations and fire and just plain nuking everything in sight to be a viable tactic? Also, i was about to suggest skills just be mastered at level 25 or so if the comlpaint is that people never master, but looks like I was beaten to that idea :) — greepish 2011-12-09 20:59


  • I think Fighting and Spellcasting, as generalist skills, shouldn't have these effects.

Weapon skills

  • For each skill, give one of the perks outlined in Combat Maneuvers & Weapon Reform? Things to consider: the bigger your weapon's attack delay, the higher the skill you want, so someone using an executioner's axe gets the bonus much cheaper than someone using a sabre. All of this applies to ranged weapons, too, including throwing. I have a seperate idea for unarmed combat, however:

Unarmed combat

  • Make auxiliary unarmed attacks trigger 100% of the time. This is probably too good considering how effective unarmed combat already is at high levels, however.


  • Completely eliminate the melee accuracy penalty. Alternatively, halve the AEVP, but I think that's a a bit too similar to just having more skill.

>Perhaps a bonus to GDR. — Pedjt 2011-05-02 04:29

I like the GDR idea. — DrPraetor 2011-05-14 18:31


Gives you a chance to avoid area spells. — Pedjt 2011-05-02 04:29


Gives a chance to stab totally aware opponents. — Pedjt 2011-05-02 04:29
This only matters if you also have stabbing. Perhaps with high stealth, enemies can forget about you even when you are in LOS? Enemies forget about you faster if they can't see you? — DrPraetor 2011-05-14 18:31


  • Reduce the penalty for blocking more than one attack in a turn.

>Gives a chance to block penetrating beams. — Pedjt 2011-05-02 04:29


  • Guarantee successful stabs every time (this would be most noticeable against distracted monsters).

> This is where I'd give the ability to stab aware enemies. — DrPraetor 2011-05-14 18:31

Traps & Doors

  • All traps and secret in LOS are always immediately revealed. I bet we still won't see many people training it.

(Level -9)*5% chance of SInv - if you can see the hairline cracks etc for traps, perhaps you can see the dust move — RFHolloway 2011-08-19 12:51


  • As with Fighting, this doesn't really need a bonus.


MP on kill (either with conj spells or just all kills). — Pedjt 2011-05-02 04:29
Too much like Vehumet's power. How about - conjuration spells always hit? — DrPraetor 2011-05-14 18:31


Hexes you cast on opponents have a chance to “splash” onto adjacent targets with reduced duration. — Pedjt 2011-05-02 04:29
+1 — DrPraetor 2011-05-14 18:31


No idea. Maybe an MR boost? Nobody really grabs 27 skill in charms. — Pedjt 2011-05-02 04:29
Any Charm can be turned into a quickened variant that is 1-2 spell levels higher and takes no elapsed time to cast. Theropod


  • Make your allies completely immune to abjuration. (Allies that turn hostile can still be abjured, of course.)


HP on kills (see Conj). — Pedjt 2011-05-02 04:29
Again, too much like a god power. Necro 27, you're undead follow you up and down stairs? That could be way too powerful. — DrPraetor 2011-05-14 18:31

Undead move faster? — RFHolloway 2011-08-19 13:26


+1 movement speed. — Pedjt 2011-05-02 04:29
Is intrinsic controlled teleport useless because the spell is so easy with 27 Translocation, or is it still too good because it doesn't have to be activated? — jejorda2 2011-05-13 14:42
It's both! And +1 move speed is pointless, b/c anyone with Tloc 27 is going to have flight and swift up all the time. At Tloc 27, you should be able to cast Tloc spells as a free action. — DrPraetor 2011-05-14 18:31


Bonus to your strength and dexterity scores. — Pedjt 2011-05-02 04:29
Mutation resistance? Permanent forms? Targeting others with form spells? — jejorda2 2011-05-13 14:45

Elemental schools

  • Give one enhancer for the school, with no corresponding negative enhancer for the opposite school. (So 27 Fire Magic won't reduce the power of your Ice spells, unlike a ring of fire.) This may be too good.
  • Give one pip of the corresponding resistance. Fire and Ice additionally get scroll/potion conservation. The problem is, Earth doesn't have a corresponding resistance…

>For Earth, give enough AC or GDR to reduce the 10d22 damage from a shot of LCS by half, to correspond with half damage granted by elemental resistances? This is almost certainly too strong. Maybe some measure of Deep Dwarf style damage shaving? — jejorda2 2011-05-13 14:32

  • For fire, you can learn hellfire variants of the fire spells at 1-2 spell levels higher. Couple this will a firestorm nerf so that more of “normal” firestorm can be resisted by fire resistance, and hellfire storm is about as powerful as current firestorm.
  • For earth, you lose the ability to fly or levitate, and so does anything within 1-2 squares of you. (Grounded Gs are like fish out of water and cannot move.) Theropod

Poison Magic

Penetrate rPois on enemies? — Pedjt 2011-05-02 04:29
If rPois is changed so it only reduces damage from poison and doesn't prevent poisoning, this would be less useful. But undead-style poison invulnerability would be suddenly more useful. — jejorda2 2011-05-13 14:48


  • This one is especially difficult because different invocations differ so wildly in effects.

>Reduced piety cost from invocations (where applicable). — Pedjt 2011-05-02 04:29

Switch gods with no wrath? Or reduce the frequency/duration of wrath? — jejorda2 2011-05-13 14:37


Chance not to use up a charge/rodmp/whatever. — Pedjt 2011-05-02 04:29
This is crazy, but what if some class of non-evokable item was made evokable for Master Artificers? They figure out how to work some hidden magic that wasn't obvious before. Evoke armour to create immobile statue allies to cover your escape, or evoke ammo to make branded traps, or evoke spellbooks to make some kind of ally or trap that casts the spells? Add spells from books to rods? Or, since so many of the other ideas are defenses, what if Zot traps don't affect those with 27 Evocations? — jejorda2 2011-05-13 14:50
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dcss/brainstorm/skills/skill_mastery.txt · Last modified: 2011-12-20 21:08 by XuaXua
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