originally “Witch's Cat”

Not an anthropomorphic Puss in Boots, a real cat. Armour or weapons are for the weak.

Unlike proposed Jellies, there's no cheating to give almost normal weapon usage.

Name: either Witch's Cat (to explain sentience), Hell Kitty (if we want intrinsics) or perhaps just Cat.

  • No armour.
  • Nothing that requires firm grasp on an item or fine manipulation. This means, no weapons, no throwing, no wands, no evoking most stuff.
    • In particular, I hope this means effectively no stabbing sleeping creatures to death. It would be too sprigan-like (read:boring). At best, a cat could blind a human-sized enemy. b0rsuk
  • can wear amulets and rings (as bracelets).
  • Crippled hp, not that great mp.
  • Good Dex and Int, bad Str.
  • size -3
  • Intense aversion to water — b0rsuk 2010-03-07 11:30
    • Autoexplore and many vaults heavily depend on shallow water being safe, so I'm afraid we can't do more than giving a message or perhaps reducing EV while swimming. And in RL cats actually swim very well, they just hate getting their fur wet. There are races and individuals who love water, but those are un-cattish heretics… Check out this, especially note the name on the second photo. — KiloByte 2010-03-10 14:12
  • speed +1
    • For something fresh, it could be implemented as an activated ability - Burst of Speed. Movement speed only. Cats tire fairly quickly and can't run from a dog forever.b0rsuk
  • carni 3 (can't synthesise taurine)
  • slow meta
  • acute vision
    • I think some form of Sense Invisible (not necessarily See Invisible) would be nice. Bonus style points if you implement it like this: http://www.freeclipartnow.com/d/24432-2/scared-cat.jpg . From gameplay perspective, Unseen Horrors could mean instant death with poor HP, we don't want that…b0rsuk
  • teeth 3
  • fur 1..3 (at levels 1, 6, 12 – “You grow your winter coat.”)
  • claws 3 (but damage bonus +0. Ghouls get +2, trolls +5, others +2 per level of mutation)
  • Apts: very good Dodging, Stealth. Good Tmut (but unable to cast Blade Paws and maybe Evaporate). Ok Ench and Tloc, average at most other schools of magic, bad at Conj, Poison, Fire, Earth, Ice and Air.
    • I agree with this. Summoning also doesn't seem to fit a cat. To simulate good perception, high Traps&Doors could be used, but ideally with no ability to disarm. High T&D is probably a necessity, considering how an axe trap can deal 25 damage through 14 AC. b0rsuk
    • I would prefer it to be good/“normal” at poison magic, it´s mostly just throwing poison darts from your paws, and it would help early on. — noxn 2010-03-08 10:24
  • Extra life every 3 levels, including levels >27. Can have at most 2 spares at a time, but extras are not lost but merely postponed until next level up.
  • Very low carrying capacity, this includes both low base and reduced effect of Str.
    • Why not just give cats woefully poor Strenght ? Do you know the phrase weak as a kitten ? Have you seen a shaved cat ? b0rsuk
      • Of course, their starting Str is abysmal and they don't get increases – but any player can add up to 9 points. That's why there's a need for an additional penalty. — KiloByte 2010-03-10 14:22
  • Give allergy to dpeg.
  • To emulate incredible hearing sense, cats could have a short-ranged ability to sense moving creatures through walls. It could work like items of warning or ESP in POWDER (Only general information, glyph or even less, for example only size). This would be very nice for all stealthy characters, but especially for cats with poor HP. An ogre behind a corner can lead to an undeserved death.b0rsuk

Rings as bracelets may be a bit odd, but otherwise we'd have to provide resistances some other way, and it would take away too many decisions. Railroad race = bad.

Revival after death gives you a complete new body, unlike wizard mode/Xom lifesaving. All afflictions, good or bad, are removed, and you get placed in a safe spot. Only mutations and gear carry over – and I'm not sure if even that is needed. Do we want corpse retrieval?

Worshipping good gods may be awkward from the theme point of view. Cat preachers would be ridiculous and Zin probably hates animals with unnatural sentience; cats as healers are legendary for their altruism; cat paladins are not so hot either. I don't know whether we should allow that; there are no balance reasons, though. All other gods are fine, with highlights on Trog and Sif Muna.

I don't know if I like the idea of cats worshipping the traditional crawl gods. If this is indeed a witch's cat, then presumably this cat is entering the dungeon to fetch the Orb for its witch-master. Perhaps a witch-god with randomly generated name/powers should watch over the cat. Each witch could have personalized quirks that result in raising or lowering piety. Powers could be drawn from traditional witch mythology (turning enemies into weak monsters temporarily, gifting potions, charming enemies, giving the cat a powerful form, etc.). This would result in less actual strategical choice for cats, but might make an interesting parallel to draconians or demonspawns in terms of a randomized fate. Pseudonut
Just because the species originated as witches' familiars, it doesn't mean they are any different from any other sentient beings. If the word “witch's” in the name bothers you, we can go with greensnark's “felid” or such. And my brother's in-laws have a cat that clearly worships Trog. — KiloByte 2010-07-14 11:32


So the cat sort of has 9 lives? Thats awesome. I like this idea. Someone make this, please. — noxn 2010-03-06 12:28
How much nutritional value does cat provide, I am thinking along the lines of meat ration +500/lvl?? — Porkchop 2010-03-06 13:32
Crawl has neither felines nor witches; “Mage's Dog” would be far more appropriate. (Also don't limit wands and evoking, as Tm forms have no problems with it, and going down this road, how would you unroll a scroll or open and lap up a potion? And allow hats, because again, Tm forms, and also cats in hats are funny. Maybe cloaks. And a flat nine lives from the start would be better, as it's simpler and makes it into a clearer resource. I like losing gear on death, though that'd encourage hot-equipping items only when immediately needed and stripping in risky situations, which is a little gamey. Ditch slow metabolism, it doesn't serve any purpose but to let an already-fast race avoid combat and you have carnivore 3 regardless. Despite common sense, I think this could actually be fun.) — OG17 2010-03-06 20:59
In most tales, witches have cat familiars, and they often can speak and help with magic. Mages have no such ties to dogs. Besides, dogs are near-mindless creatures.

Unrolling a scroll doesn't require holding it firmly – just press the edge with one paw and push the rolled bulk of the scroll with another body part, same as a human does. Uncorking a potion can be done with mouth, animals use mouths a lot when manipulating objects. I don't see any way to grasp a wand and point it, though.
Spider, dragon, and ice forms have no problem, so you'd think cats could manage, and as they'd be able to use wands in forms regardless, it'd be a strange inconvenience to limit it in base form. — OG17 2010-03-06 22:54

Hat on a cat would be silly and fall off after the first rapid move. This falls within the “Puss in Boots” anthropomorphism.

Perhaps the hat has a strap? And again, most forms would be able to equip hats (and sometimes cloaks), so this is a doubly odd limitation. Or would a cat's Tm forms be so different than every other races'? — OG17 2010-03-06 22:54
Hrm, perhaps. With hat, it's silly but indeed consistent with forms. Statue/lich form being unable to use gear does make sense though, since it's a statue/skeleton of a cat, just like an ogre lich still can't wear platemail. — KiloByte 2010-03-06 23:43

Flat nine lives is an absolute no-no. It would be impossible to lose the game early on, and you would have people quitting because they lost too many lives early. Lives have to be replenishable, and letting people gather too many at one point would make them invulnerable now and hit hard later.

I think extra life every X units of Y takes care of that nicely. Experience levels is one possibility, or you could do something silly like one life every 500 gold coins collected. b0rsuk
How crippled is “crippled HP?” I don't see much functional difference between choosing to quit and outright dying, regardless, save that you could choose to press on with the first. — OG17 2010-03-06 22:54
If you're XL2 and already down to 3 lives from 9, you're pretty fucked and most people would start anew. Permanent loss = bad. — KiloByte 2010-03-06 23:43
I like the idea of having only one extra life that comes back after you gain so much XP, but it has to be carefully balanced so that it doesn't take too long to come back when you're low level or high level (since at low levels you gain very little XP but gain levels pretty fast, but at high levels you gain tens of thousands of XP but gain levels very slowly. At neither point should you have to wait too long for your extra life to come back). Ultimately it depends on how frequent we want the lives to be. As an example and assuming roughly human level progression, examine 10+20*XL^2 (for the level you were when you died). That's 30 if you're level 1 (so you'll get it back while level 3), 190 when you're level 3 (so you get it back while level 5), 2000 while level 10 (so you'll still be level 10 when you get it back), and 8000 while level 20. That doesn't grow fast enough at the really high levels if we want lives to be a “don't start completely over after screwing up” button; maybe a cubic would work or it might have to be a quartic (someone with a better understanding of how the game is balanced would need to do the math. Of course it's not out of the question to fudge it and assign each level arbitrary values rather than using a formula). But if we want to make coming back to life from risky ploys or even suicide attacks a core gameplay mechanic at high levels, a quadratic like that is perfect (maybe a somewhat bigger quadratic); you'd only have to win a few high-level battles to get your life back. Definitely support dropping your inventory on death to compensate. — Brickman 2010-09-24 03:35

Losing gear on death is certainly something to think of; I didn't include that since it would add the tedium of having to sort through gear after every death – yet forcing people to recover gear from the gang of monsters who just killed them is tempting.

I meant lost as in “lost to the void,” if there's confusion, though I guess either has merits. But “killing monsters” is already pretty natural behavior, I think. — OG17 2010-03-06 22:54
Uhm, I don't see why possibly items would disappear without a trace. The option is to have the pile dropped where you die, just like any non-summoned monster drops its gear when it dies. It would require messing with autopickup, though. — KiloByte 2010-03-06 23:22
I don't think it's all that outlandish, seeing how there's nothing else with multiple lives to compare it to. I believe I misread the proposal, though, as I thought that this was the other option, instead of (I imagine) reviving with your gear equipped. I'll admit that eating or zombifying your own corpse would be pretty funny, in any case. — OG17 2010-03-07 00:10

Slow meta is mostly for theme (a tiny creature) and to allow for great reduction of carrying capacity, including reducing Str effect, without making Pan undoable (spriggans need 300-350 aum for Pan, cats just 100-150). This would indeed reduce food clock in the early game, but it hardly matters for most races already. — KiloByte 2010-03-06 21:29

Overall, I'm surprised to say I actually like the idea, especially if it's implemented as a challenge race, with no special care to enable visiting Pandemonium or some other munchkin crap. I think trying to compromise is the best way to rob the cat of its catness. Instead of implementing another spriggan (an overpowered race in some ways), take inspiration from Cat Life, a mod for Half Life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwVkdTdw0Ks . I think it's ok if the race doesn't please everyone. You can think of Cat as a joke race of Crawl, and in much better taste than Nethack's tourists and archeologists. — b0rsuk 2010-03-07 11:20
Pandemonium is not “munchkin crap”, it's where 1/3 of runes are. And I don't want that compromise of making cats more similar to regular races – low CC low meta is more cattish than normal CC normal meta. — KiloByte 2010-03-10 14:58
I agree. It be a good challenge race. The “nine lives” thing doesn't help that much if you have little HP, and you (probably) lose some gear at dying, and you cant carry much anyway. I want to play this as thief, just for fun. — noxn 2010-03-08 10:24
I still can't help thinking this must be one giant joke. Though I like cats, I don't like where this is going. At all. Crawl doesn't need cats. — jpeg 2010-03-11 19:14
This joke is more interesting than many already existing races. There's clear theme and design following from it. There are lots of things that can't be reproduced with aptitude or stat modifiers (something, that in my opinion distinguishes well designed races). There's sudden outbreak of creativity, contrasting with usual “X won the game despite using Y, so it's ok” mentality. If this is a joke, I prefer it to Crawl reality. b0rsuk
I agree that this is more interesting than many other proposed races. At the same time, I think that it's a little too out there in terms of playability (it really will be a different game). I don't think that player races are a particularly good place for jokey content if only because many people, myself included, like playing random characters or random races. Demigods and mummies are already a problem in terms of making the game too different/less fun. I wouldn't want to add a third race that has similar problems. Gods, on the other hand, are a great place for really off-beat ideas (see Xom, Jiyva and Fedhas). I propose merging this entire idea into the Stealth God (B) proposal. I've done a bit more of a write up with specific thoughts over on that page. — 256 2010-09-08 21:01


Blade hands turns the cat's paws into scythes - this should create a stealth penalty (click-clack), if not also a -1 movement penalty. — OG17 2010-10-11 15:58

Evaporate's flavor is throwing, and it even still trains throwing skill. I don't think this is a cat problem, though, but a spell problem - the flavor should be changed (eg “magically launched”) and all connections to throwing skill should be removed. Does this even do anything mechanically? — OG17 2010-10-11 15:59

Evocable restrictions are inconsistent. You're unable to point a wand, yet you can draw cards from a deck in your mouth? I'd suggest that cards can only be used through Nemelex's draw ability - it's not like there's a lack of items to sacrifice. Cats can also wield and use misc evocables like the stone, disc, and fan, which seems unlikely given the inability to use wands (though wand inability is unlikely given potions, so who knows). Lanterns make sense, at least, as those are automatic when carried. — OG17 2010-10-11 15:58

Perhaps half potion effects/durations to represent spilling the liquid on use? And/or use potions by emptying them on the floor, like a bloodstain, and then lapping them up on the next turn - the flavor of this is nice, though it's a bit harsh. — OG17 2010-10-11 16:22

I might be overlooking something, but I don't think the species has any use for a quiver. It's currently displayed regardless, and unusable missiles are autoslotted and can be cycled through. — OG17 2010-10-11 15:58

The massive tloc apt is unnecessary, as a fast high-evasion race with weak defenses and limited offense has more than enough motivation to invest in translocations without having them handed to it on a silver platter. Pretty sure that players would get the hint without this - it should be lowered to 1 or 2 (instead of 4(!). Spriggans are 4, which is likely silly in itself, and then the next highest is DE/HE/DD at 1). The 0 spellcasting could stand to be raised, though, for both general use and flavor. — OG17 2010-10-11 15:58

I'm playing my first felid, and I think they are a really great addition to the game. I was thinking for a long time that there should be race with severe item restrictions, I always thought it would be an insectoid, but I have to say the cat flavour and balance seems to be working quite well. — xyblor 2010-10-30 01:10

Fi and Gl shouldn't be allowed for felids; the same principle that makes AM and Ar pointless applies to Fi and Gl (they can't use the items that define the background). FeFi and FeGl are basically just monks; they have the same skills and gear. — xyblor 2010-11-12 18:21

I had a conversation to this effect on #crawl a little bit ago, but I guess it bears repeating here. Having recently played my first felid game on CDO (FeTm of Nemelex), my feeling is that felids, as currently implemented, are brokenly overpowered. I didn't just win that game, I did so effortlessly; I died three times, but at least two of those deaths were because of sloppy play that I knew I could get away with. And I don't think there's a good way to 'fix' the race, either; there are two ways they can potentially be taken, and neither is good. First, they could be made an otherwise weak-but-viable race that has extra lives on top of that, which is basically what they are now; I don't think I need to say why this is bad. Alternatively, the weakness/lives mechanic could be balanced so that in a typical run, a felid will encounter a good number of practically unavoidable death events, at least enough to keep the game tense and difficult. Even ignoring the practical problem of actually implementing that balance, the fact that the game world is randomly generated would then ensure that it would be too easy for just a few too many of those events to occur in just a bit too short of a timespan, effectively making the game unwinnable. (And yes, I know that part of the Crawl development philosophy is that the occasional unwinnable game is okay; I think this would probably make the game unwinnable too often.) In short, I think this race was an interesting idea and a worthy experiment, but I also don't think it will wind up being a good addition to the game.

How much effort does a three-rune Tm/Nemelex game usually take? It doesn't sound like the lives are to blame, either, since if you had three deaths with “at least two” being avoidable, you could've just been more careful at those points and likely won almost as easily with no deaths. — OG17 2010-12-02 01:03
Looking at recent CDO stats, I don't see felids getting an excessively high win curve – especially if you throw away lowest level chars. They're way above average but still below several other races. Factoring in a number of good players rushing to a new race and recent nerfs, I don't think they're grossly overpowered at this moment. Of course, they can still certainly take some downgrades. — KiloByte 2010-12-02 01:24

And to gripe about a specific mechanic, I don't like how you get the extra lives by leveling up; I think this is highly gameable. I could see, say, level ~22 felids learning necromancy spells they don't have a hope of casting, just to miscast it to dance with soul eaters. In doing so, they could keep their levels low and the potential for future extra lives high. — dtsund 2010-12-01 18:41

I do not like the extra lives mechanic at all. You know another game that has extra lives? NetHack. Or, to be less snarky about it: it will greatly weaken the tension in the game. One of the fundamental components of roguelikes in general is that the player needs to be careful or they will die. With a race that has extra lives, you weaken that. Say the player has made it to Zot:5 and has six lives left. Well, that means clearing Zot:5 and doing the Orb run will be pretty boring until they lose most of those lives. Thus, if the player makes it far enough with lots of lives, they can start playing sloppily, which is bad. If you make the game hard enough at that point that they need to be careful even with lots of lives, then it will be nigh impossible for a player with only one life left, which is bad. I'm sure everyone here has at one point played a game with a lives system, gotten a ridiculous amount of lives by some method, and seen all the challenge of the game vanish. Don't get me wrong, I like felids in general. They seem like a pretty interesting race, although they are rather silly even for Crawl. I just hate the lives mechanic. — minmay 2010-12-14 22:55

I like the felid a lot, here are a few of my thoughts. You can still wield odd items in your mouth, I think allowing the felid to use a blowgun would fit, giving the felid a bit of ranged weapon ability, perhaps with an attack speed drop to represent the hassle of loading and aiming with just their mouth. It could also be balanced by being unable to command followers or shout (or rather, meow!) or use spells “You shouldn't talk with your mouth full!” I can understand boots and gloves not fitting, but surely they could manage to get a soft hat on without much trouble. Another possible move would be to make a one size fits all barding (the one time I've seen barding while being able to wear it, it was the wrong size! Rage!) and let felids wear it. Evocation is quite inconsistent with allowing potions and scrolls while disallowing wands and nearly all the activatables, how about requiring the small penalty of only being able to consume or read things on the ground, automatically dropping if needed. Once free from the pack, paws and teeth and the ground is enough for the deft intelligence to uncork the bottle or unroll a scroll as well as leafing through a spellbook. In addition, a felid should be able to grasp any stick-shaped item in their mouth and evoke it, but unable to use their bite attack, leaving them only with the claw attack and unable to cast or meow until they spit it out. I think this would fairly balance the felid's intelligence and determination against their small form. Finally, I think felids should be penalized much more than usual for being in even shallow water, much more likely to slip and waste their turn if they try to fight in it, maybe even a stiffer penalty for going against feline instincts. — Prezombie 2011-02-01 00:14

Lack of armor and weapons is the whole point of felids. Wands would be okay though, I guess. Also, Cats are actually good swimmers. — minmay 2011-02-01 01:13
I was just throwing a bunch of ideas out there, brainstorm scattershot. I can understand having no armor, but I still would like to be able to at least wield items in your mouth. Currently, you can wield non-weapons, and it shows (in mouth). I'm not saying that the felid should be able to attack with the weapons, just wield them for the purposes of evocation, sticks to snakes, and perhaps even the passive weapon buffs, like elemental staffs. To balance that out, it would hamper a bunch of other actions that involve the mouth. While something's in their mouth, they can't eat or drink, 'shout', or use their bite attack. Casting speed could also be slowed. — Prezombie 2011-02-03 15:52

Let them wield weapons

Not with any particular effectiveness, of course: a felid wielding a weapon in its mouth should “clumsily bash” monsters as if it were wielding a book. The weapon's brand and enchantment have absolutely no effect whatsoever. No wield or unwield effects either: the weapon's brand shouldn't even be identified, and it can't be used for disto-unwield banishment. Yes it strains credulity a bit, but remember that felids can currently wield a plate mail in their mouths. I don't think it's any weirder to have them wield a weapon.

Why should they be able to do this, then? Two reasons. The first, and more serious, is that troves will occasionally ask for a well-enchanted, rare weapon. Felids are pretty much out of luck if they get one of these, unless they happen to get lucky and find a weapon already enchanted enough. One could argue that since the weapon is useless to them, they shouldn't get a trove entry for it, but currently felids have no problem with troves demanding wands or armour, both of which are just as useless as a weapon. The second is the Sticks to Snakes spell: felids currently can use arrows for this, but not weapons. This limits the spell to being useful only in the fairly early game for them, which seems somewhat arbitrary. -IonFrigate

While I agree with you, there is a technical problem. There's a hundred or so places that assume that if a weapon is in hand, it is wielded. It would be too much work to alter all those. It may be easier to change troves or EW, and to have S2S use the quiver instead. — KiloByte 2011-09-26 14:35
S2S could act on sticks either wielded or on the ground; so you can drop sticks or just stand over them. There's a problem with the quiver in that you can't quiver everything that can be snaked, e.g. quarterstaff. — mumra 2011-09-26 15:45
Maybe special-case S2S and EW scrolls to ask for an item in the case of felids? I imagine that would be less of a coding problem, although it leads to weirdness where felids have six scrolls asking for items instead of three. I don't actually think that's a huge problem though, because only one of those (identify) is usually useful to them - the standard behavior of trying out such scrolls on potions or jewelry would be unchanged. Felids don't have a quiver though (at least in 0.9), and making S2S always ask for an item could make it somewhat annoying to use. But one could make it ask for an item only if the felid isn't wielding arrows - so you can quickly (in real time) flood the area with snakes, or use it to create that one black mamba/anaconda from a carried quarterstaff. -IonFrigate

Another felid suggestion: Make them Carni 2

Cats can't subsist on vegetable matter alone in real life. On the other hand, some domestic cats will eat cooked vegetables, and felids are domestic cats that have been enchanted/imbued with sentience. I doubt they get very much out of it, but I think that's nicely simulated by, well, them getting less satiation out of it.

… and get rapidly sick of if they eat too much. Even with artificial arginine and taurine supplements, their health deteriorates compared to cats on regular animal diet (reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat#Physiology). They are the most strict case of obligate carnivores of all animals other than parasites. — KiloByte 2011-10-12 13:44

What's the gameplay purpose of this? Several things. Firstly, with the removal of Hive, they might need the extra boost in nutrition. Secondly, it makes life slightly more interesting for Nemelex felids. Currently they're almost the same as mummies when it comes to sacrificing permafood for decks of wonders - they need only spare royal jellies, honeycombs, and meat rations. Having the decision of “Deck of wonder or slightly more nutrition?” I think is a nice strategic decision to make. Lastly, I think it'd be interesting to try out the new nerfs to Carnivores 1 and 2 with felids: currently the only way to get them is via random mutation, which is pretty rare. It would mean that felids could stuff themselves slightly less silly after every centaur they kill. -IonFrigate

9 lives is too many

First off, yes I know why they have 9 lives, but balance comes before silly jokes and felids can technically gain more anyways.

I've only played and beaten one felid, but one's enough to know this is way too much. In the beginning, extra lives are fine, since loss of one level hurts a whole lot at that point, and well the beginning is harder. Moreso for felids even. However, in late game crawl, bad luck is diminished and most games for non-felids are lost because of one crucial mistake at a bad time. With felids you have to screw up, severely, many times.

To be perfectly honest, I'd say if you manage to clear lair with at least one extra life, and later lose the game as a felid, you're playing incredibly recklessly. This simply should not be the case. It doesn't matter whether felids have a harder time in the early game, the end game should not be 100% trivialized.

So, options:

  1. Just plain fewer lives, say every 5th level, but give felids an early game boost, like a starting ac of +3.
  2. Non-linear life pattern, with some earlier life: life at levels 3,6,12,24 or 3,7,12,18,24
  3. Keep 9 lives, but only ONE extra life at a time.
  4. Flat out normalizing the race, giving a single extra life at level 3-4, and none thereafter, but changing hp from -40% to -10%. I honestly favor this, since crawl just isn't balanced for extra lives let alone multiple extra lives. But for flavors sake, keep the one. — greepish 2011-12-06 13:47
This was tried in 0.9, and resulted in them being the very least won race of the tourney. The very change you're proposed has been reverted, first by MarvinPA back to linear lives with a cap and then by me to reduce stashing if you're not regularly using the lives.
The game is “100% trivialized” so much that even with these boosts some other buff is needed, although I'm not going to hurry as we're going to have 0.10 to test things before 0.11 for the tournament. — KiloByte 2011-12-06 14:01
Ah okay. Excuse the ignorance, but where can I find a good record of development changes if there is any? Looking at crawl wiki just doesn't help. I'm just curious which method of nerf was used. — greepish 2011-12-06 14:18


This topic has been brought up on ##crawl several times, and it seems like it’s about time to address it elsewhere. Essentially, felids as they currently exist have massive problems in concept and execution, and should either be overhauled or removed from the game completely.

Problems with felids:

First, they have very few choices. Because of an inability to use most items in the dungeon, every FeBe plays almost identically, every FeSu plays almost identically, etc. Bots can get much further with felids than they can with anything else, which in itself is indicative of a problem.

In addition, their optimal playstyle is tedious. Because they are fast, have low HP, low AC, and high EV, they tend to kite monsters, run away frequently, block themselves with summons, etc.

Their apts are silly and extremely confusing for new players. They have +4 hexes, +3 stabbing, and +3 stealth, despite those skills (except arguably stealth) having almost no use for them. Meanwhile, their most useful aptitudes (fighting, spellcasting, UC, offensive magic, etc.) are mediocre at best. This isn’t a problem for experienced players, but can easily lead newbies into poor strategies, such as training stealth and stabbing to high levels on febe. Meanwhile, they have a rather uncomfortable niche. There are several other dodgy races with poor defenses and limited armour (e.g. spriggan, octopode, troll) that have similar apts and do most things better. Their most common classes (be, tm, su) can be done very similarly by troll (be/tm), octopode ™, and mummy (su).

Most importantly, the policy for their design seems to be “balance brokenly weak aspects with brokenly strong ones.” They make up for abysmal hp, mediocre apts, and terrible defenses with fast movement, near-gourmand, and an extra lives mechanic that I will talk about in greater detail later. These advantages (primarily fast movement and extra lives) make them relatively easy for experienced players, but are underutilized by the new players who want something simple (which felid professes to be). This results in an interesting situation where they are too easy/tedious for many experienced players to enjoy them, and too confusing/difficult for newbies.

Finally, they are unpopular. This alone is not enough reason to warrant removal, but it is worth consideration. Felids were the third-least-won race in the March 2012 tournament, behind ghouls and humans. Of the 7 felids won during the tourney, 5 of them were FeSk, a Nemelex’s choice combo. The felid high score during the tournament escaped with 4 runes in almost 150k turns. People rarely play them and often complain about them.

Extra lives:

Extra lives are distinct from the other problems and stand out as the worst by far. Crawl has no amulet of lifesaving. Death is permanent and should be avoided at all costs. This is a good thing, and one of the key features of roguelikes. It promotes cautious play and adds a greater weight to actions. Felids, though, have none of this before their last life. They have an automatic get-out-of-jail free card that, while it lowers their xl, allows them to bounce back from mistakes that would kill any other race. People use this, too; almost every felid win has a few deaths. It is bizarre that, while an AoLS or similar has been firmly rejected, felids get several. Death should be permanent, and felids blatantly break that rule. That they evidently need to break that rule to be playable or unique is a problem in its own right.

Possible fixes:

If removal is considered a bad idea, there are several routes that could be taken to improve felids. They could be taken two directions: First, they could be made significantly easier for new players and function as something of a training race. Alternatively, they could be made significantly harder and function as a challenge race for experts. Either way, extra lives should be removed (or significantly changed).

The simplest option to make felids more newbie-friendly is more hp. Right now, they have the worst hp in the game. Raising that to DE levels or so would make them much less fragile. They could also have stabbing special-cased to work with their claws, so that their already-good apts in those areas could be put to use. Alternatively, their UC or offensive magic aptitudes could be raised. A more unlikely option would be to allow them use of wands, making them slightly less restricted in escape options.

If the goal is to make them harder, a simple removal of the extra lives mechanic could be enough. Alternatively, they could lose swiftness or receive some other nerfs. I doubt that this is a good option (felids probably shouldn’t be a challenge race), but it’s there.

Alternatively, just remove them. There are enough problems that this seems like the best option to me, but others have expressed a desire to keep them in the game. Regardless of what happens, though, something should be changed. -Blade

Discussion | Felid Overhaul/Removal on Tavern|

Unimplemented behavoir?

The felid description in game documentation says that 'Their agility and stealth are legendary, as is their ability to get to hard to reach places.' What does it mean? Jump-attack doesn't work when there is no monster on target tile, so it isn't about crossing bodies of water and lava. And they can't go through grates and vegetation (it's true for clouds too though).


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