Demigod

Better attributes for balance

The below article lists lots and lots of strange proposals, and one is in a subordinate clause inside another entry that I think should have comparable attention. I personally like demigods (spend days playing demigods only) specifically because they have no fancy abilities, no halos, no meters and no gods. Just your own great strength as a human-like character to build on. However, as it stands, demigod is just a bad choice, because the attributes are pitiful.

Let's say you are a human worshiping Zin. If you were a demigod then you would have gained 27/2 rather than 27/4 random attributes, for 13 rather than 6. So if they're distributed evenly rather than by luck, that's 2 more per attribute for you. You have a further advantage of 3-4 stat points per attribute at the start. So you can have an advantage in attributes between 3 and 10 points, and if you have 10 points in one you have 4 points advantage in others. Zin's infinitely spammable vitalisation gives you 9 points in all attributes at max invocations AND protects you from everything and you get his other benefits too such as recite, a panic button, divine protection etc. And considering a demigod needs 20% more experience for skills and keeping 20% of your experience going to invocations is more than enough to level up zin all the way for a human/most races, how is demigod not the objectively bad choice? It's even worse if compared to any specialized race.

I realize it's not about powergaming, but how about for a different proposal, double demigod attribute growth so it's actually better than you could have with another race?

Gain followers

Since we now have the well-functioning and enjoyable class known as the Hill Orc Priest under Beogh, which, amongst many bestowed powers, is arguably most well-known for the ability to procure, maintain, and manage an increasingly powerful, loyal retinue of followers as a player grows increasingly pious (and since piety is conferred from killing, piety is tantamount to power), is it not plausible that an equally powerful demigod might also garner his or her own followers? If so, perhaps this could be a racial attribute that is organic to the class.

I admit that the orcish followers under Beogh lend themselves particularly well to this, as they have enough increasingly powerful types to give a good feel of progression (e.g. orc to orc warrior, orc warrior to orc knight, etc.) and this could easily get complicated if one assumes that similar features would need to be implemented in all other monsters, but I don't think this would need to be done in more than a few of the most varied species at most (elves for example, elf to elf knight and so on). One might also assume followers would be limited to natural beings of normal intelligence or higher.

This ability could be implemented expansively or very limited, so perhaps you could garner even a weak monster or two in the early stages who stands virtually no chance of making it to the orb. Say, a kobold who levels up to a big kobold, then stops advancing. Or, alternatively, maybe this effect could just be limited to gaining uniques, whose equipment can be managed but otherwise do not level up. I think this racial ability could rationally make sense and really bring some life back to the demigod class. — LordKristopf 2013-08-05 23:57

The arguments against this have already been stated. Beogh already offers this playstyle. The Demigod proposal is intentionally far less game-changing or micromanagey. But seriously, this idea has been repeatedly turned down, in fact I think if you just read further down the page it is probably already discussed. — mumra 2013-09-03 04:49
In due respect to you and your excellent proposals here mumra [not sarcasm], I gleaned this page and could not find where the arguments against it had been stated (please reference if you have time). I did try to look for those before I posted. I do see your argument however, that Beogh offers a similar gameplay, and while you may be right, I'm hesitant to think that he has cornered the entire market on attracting followers. There are many other monsters beyond orcs that would be fun to do this with! :) — LordKristopf 2013-09-03 23:34
LordKristopf: This page is somewhat streamlined by now, but trust us, several ideas come up time and again. For demigods, some classics are: get/choose a deity as ancestor; get divine abilities; get actual followers (this may have been triggered by me proposing abstract followers). Regardless of whether it's been dismissed before or not, here is what I really dislike about actual followers for demigods: right now, the species is extremely broad, and allows any playing style (as long as no god is involved, so no pacifiers). If you go for actual followers, every demigod game becomes a Beogh game. Not only do we already have Beogh, you have now lessened the appeal of a whole species! A different point of view: where generally a character has three relevant choices (species, background, god), once you go for demigod there is only the choice of background left but that is made up by demigods being intentionally viable for anything. With your proposal, you would shoehorn an already-godless species into a particular playing style. This is out of the question. — dpeg 2013-09-04 15:02
Duly noted sir. I'll try to keep mindful in the future that these pages do not necessarily reflect the full sum of proposals which have ever been proposed. Perhaps I'm off the mark in assuming the demigod is even something to be improved. I suppose it just seems a bit counter-intuitive that a species which in namesake alone is seemingly so dripping with power and abilities would functionally play so devoid of such, at least when compared to many other more mortal species. Aside from nice stats, it would seem the demigod species might just as easily be called “the forsaken”, and thematically make just as much sense. Thank you both for your feedback and direction. — LordKristopf 2013-09-04 21:51

Abstract worshippers

2876602 by dpeg, a more specific take on what was already in 2799595.

Use “piety” for Demigods as a measure of belief in you. We may not need to use the classical piety system where piety is harder to get when you have lots of it. Not sure.

Piety

Gain for milestones:

  • killing uniques (their HD or Xp vs player level)
  • getting runes (each unique rune +10)
  • getting the orb (+30)
  • entering new branches (+5, not the Temple)
  • killing whatever the other gods put in your way (1-5)

For all of these actions (apart from picking up the orb), the piety gain should come with a delay of 100-1000 turns (perhaps depending on how far away from D:1 the DG is). Rationale: your heroic deeds are heard of in other parts of the world; these reports, coupled with your somewhat divine origin, may lead people into worshipping you.

While this would be more realistic, how necessary is it? It might be more confusing to get a piety message with a delay, and the implementation would require even more special casing for conducts. Besides which, the primary thing piety affects is other gods' wrath towards you; they'd be instantly angered by your deeds, however long it took for your followers to hear about it. (Perhaps there are seers amongst your followers who are able to deliver up-to-the-minute status reports on your progress…) — mumra 2011-09-10 00:45
You are right, there is no need for this complication. Instead, we can print messages like: “You enter [branch]. Some people will be impressed by this.” (The first sentence is the current message.) — dpeg 2011-09-10 15:49

Loss:

  • fleeing from the gods's minions (-10)
  • over time

Feedback and messages

The ^ screen:

  • Nobody knows you.
  • Your name is briefly mentioned in some [stories|songs|tales|fables].
  • You have a few dedicated followers.
  • You are worshipped alongside other gods.
  • Your worshipers are legion.

Messages when gaining piety:

  • Your followers began building altars to you.
  • Your followers have managed to install an altar to you in a major temple.
  • Your followers began burning heretics at the stake. (Fire Magic leading)
  • Your followers began impaling all the heretics. (Polearms leading) etc.
  • Your followers actively proselytise the heathens.
  • Your followers have started a war in your name.
  • Your worshipers are enthusiastic about seeing the [orb|golden fleece|holy grail].
  • Your worshipers have declared that you are the only god.

For losses:

  • Many of your former followers now worship other idols.
  • With beastly fury, worshipers of some unknown entity decimated your followers.
  • Altars to you [crumble|wither away] unnoticed.
  • [Pigeons|Animals|Little boys] defecate your altars. Nobody minds.
  • Many of your followers succumb to somebody's proselytisation.
  • Your followers break up in factions, bitterly fighting among each other.
  • A schism among your followers causes a civil war.
  • You feel your support wane.

More lines welcome.

Effects of being a popular demigod

  1. In levels where random altars can appear, such an altar may be to the Demigod.
  2. There could be (random) uniques worshiping the DG. At any time, the player can send such a unique home (to D:1) as “an apostle”, which leads to more piety or the unique will be an ally.
  3. The other gods don't like to see a mere demigod draw so many followers. But outright killing the Demigod would not look good. Instead, they try to prove the DG's inferiority by sending capable followers of their own after the player. These should be randomised uniques with access to the god's powers (random name and good equipment, including slots not used by standard monsters, e.g. a spellcasting unique might bring a book). Killing such a unique will increase piety and net those items. Not killing the unique in an encounter (they disappear after a while) is a bad blow to your reputation.
    Fun bit: all the gods watch your performance. Xom snickers if you bail out etc. (Messages like these are much rarer than the uniques themselves but they explain that _all_ the gods are unhappy about a newcomer like you. Only their ideas about dispatching you differ. In the Abyss, Lugonu doesn't like you either, since you try to get into the establishment, rather than smashing the establishment.)
  4. Variations on 3: instead of meeting random uniques (as other gods's minions), the DG could be sent to a portal vault facing something. Some players might want to challenge the DG (and hopefully prove the DG's utter incapability for godhood this way) in different ways: Elyvilon could ask the player to obtain a rune without bloodshed; TSO could ask the player to get a demonic rune as soon as possible although I lack an idea what happens if the player fails to fulfill the challenge.
  5. Once we have random/player gods, the chance for creating a player god modeled on the winning DG depends on final piety, of course.

For choosing which god sends a minion against the DG, we should track more conducts. Gods who are offended most will go first.

I started looking at how this might be implemented. I'm thinking that wrath can be used as a mechanism to track which gods are most offended by your actions. Any actions that increase your “piety” would anger all gods; but what would seem interesting is to also utilise a lot of existing conducts, and use those as a basis for gaining wrath with individual gods. The question this poses is: would gods be more offended by you following their “liked” conducts, or the opposite? It might be thematic if gods became angry when they suspected you were encroaching on their territory … e.g. if you were killing evil beings, the good gods would worry that you're trying to be too much like them; if you're training spellcasting a lot, then Sif gets concerned that there's a new librarian on the block; and so on. Or, the opposite could be the case… killing holy beings would simply anger TSO outright, killing chaotic beings would appease Zin, etc. Perhaps different gods would have somewhat different attitudes and behaviours in this regard, depending on how rational they are as a character? Xom, of course, would find the whole thing utterly hilarious; and as long as you're causing a huge stir one way or another, he'll be more than happy… — mumra 2011-09-09 22:28
That is a very good question… Using conducts is a great idea (and we should treat a lot more, there is a wiki page for that). I believe that Sif will be a lot more upset for every book you destroy than about you casting spells. Similarly, the good gods will obviously abhor your use of Necromancy; they'll don't mind you killing the evil.
Let's face it: nobody assumes that you (the DG) ever becomes a god. The nuisance is just your aspiration to do so. The gods send minions only to prove how puny you are. They don't act directly because that would elevate you way too much, even if you die: “Did you hear? Okawaru thought it necessary to kill Mumra the demigod himself, tsk tsk. The gods are becoming powerless…”
Summary: Go with the conducts. — dpeg 2011-09-09 23:12
That makes things fairly straightforward. The main problem now is that did_god_conduct (godconduct.cc) - already a nightmare of a function - would end up with a whole lot of special casing and strangeness for demigods. There must be a way to generalise a large amount of the conducts; a lot of them are performing mostly identical calculations to work out piety and penance from different kinds of things. I'm just a bit out of my depth attempting any kind of refactor there :) — mumra 2011-09-09 23:56
I'm not entirely sure specialcasing for Demigods is necessary. Isn't there some kind of plan to keep track of conducts for all gods, in general? If so, there could be a simple array for all the gods where bonuses and maluses are paid in regardless of whether the god is actually worshipped. Might make sense add modifiers to each of the conducts a bit, so that some of them are treated as more important than the others. — jpeg 2011-09-13 22:01
Seeing how conducts currently work, that would be a significant rewrite; so maybe applying those conducts for Demigods can wait until that happens (I haven't seen the plan, so I'm not sure what it is). It's definitely an area in need of an overhaul. — mumra 2011-09-13 22:49

Note: If you play a very slow DG who barely gets three runes (and probably won't ever face a divine minion), your game will be just like the current one. That's intended: players are not forced at all to be ambitious demigods. The only real benefit of being an ambitious demigod in the above system are the items one can get from the minions. That's definitely enough to tweak things.

God-Specific Conducts and Minions

(mumra) Here's where a lot of detail needs fleshing out. The key things are a) what specific conducts will most anger each god (tracking every single one will be somewhat a nightmare, and impossible for the player to follow) and b) what kinds of minions will each god send to challenge the player? Some are obvious, some not so. This seems perfect for brainstorming; a lot of ideas and flavour can go into this part to give each god a distinct character.

Conducts

God Conducts Notes Message
Zin DID_DELIBERATE_MUTATING
DID_NECROMANCY
DID_CANNIBALISM
TSO DID_UNCHIVALRIC_ATTACK
DID_POISON
DID_NECROMANCY
DID_CANNIBALISM
Kiku DID_KILL_UNDEAD
Yred DID_HOLY
Xom None Xom wants to be entertained. Perhaps you'll only get challenged if you manage to avoid annoying any of the other gods too much, and if you run away from minion encounters all the time.
Xom could have a very low chance of challenging you regardless of what you do. Apart from that, once the Xom interest mechanic focuses more on tension, Xom could use the same kind of piety tracker as the other gods. — jpeg 2011-09-13 22:05
Vehumet None
Okawaru DID_FRIEND_DIED
Makhleb None
Sif DID_DESTROY_SPELLBOOK
Trog DID_SPELL_MEMORISE Wrath based on spell level
Nemelex None
Ely DID_FRIEND_DIED
DID_NECROMANCY
DID_CANNIBALISM
Fedhas DID_KILL_PLANT
DID_PLANT_KILLED_BY_SERVANT
Chei DID_HASTY
Ash None
Some comments: The special gods (Beogh, Jiyva, Lugonu) should not be part of this. They're not part of the pantheon (i.e. the divine establishment) and they don't care (or perhaps silently gloat) if the players challenges the standard gods.
We just need standout conducts for the gods who have it: Destroying books with Sif (use highest spell level in book for value); learning spells with Trog (spell level for value); attacking allies for Elyvilon and Okawaru; deliberate mutation for Zin; stabbing for TSO; cannibalism and necromancy for all goog gods; killing plants (including fungi or toadstools) for Fedhas; speeding up for Cheibriados. For the other gods, do nothing. (In my opinion, more gods should have some kind of conduct, but we will not think about this now.) When sending a minion, do a weighted roll over all the accumulated wraths, giving mundane gods (those without conduct) the average.
If a minion was sent, remove this god's weight by some amount. This way, it will be less likely to get another minion of the god soon, although if you're doing nothing but stab and eat species of your kind, you'll encounter a slightly larger amount of TSO enemies. — dpeg 2011-09-10 15:53
This simplifies things; table updated. I wonder though what Beogh's reaction would be if you started blowing up orcish idols? — mumra 2011-09-10 16:54
He should sometimes express unhappiness when it happens (in general, not just regarding DG). Nothing for now, though. — dpeg 2011-09-10 17:33

Minions

Question: how should the minions appear? Should they just appear in LOS (amid tloc clouds), with an announcement from the god that sent them? (More thematic things could happen, e.g. Fedhas minion “rises up out the earth”, but same basic mechanic).

For a quick and cheap start, I suggest this: The minion appears in a cloud of the god's colour. There is a message by the god ordering the minion to stop the player in his tracks for his perverted ways etc. Ideally, all of the DG related speech can be sourced out to a file, but for now that's not crucial. (If you can do, it'd be great, of course.)
The minions should be temporary. One way to do this is to treat them as summons. Duration should be perhaps about 50 turns? Perhaps they could “flicker” (i.e. message) before disappearing. Another message when they do disappear: the god boosts how you couldn't handle the minion. (And piety goes down, which may cause another message.)
Ideally, they could use their god's powers. If this is too hard, we'll do the most important parts by hand (i.e. a Trog followers get Berserk ability; Yredelemnul and TSO minions could get hand-selected allies etc.).
Minion strength (health, HD etc.) should depend on piety and number of killed minions so far. (Even if the minion is a monster, e.g. an Angel of Zin, it should get a name and can be given specific parameters.)
When they die, their corpses should disappear in a cloud of the god's colour (no gods want to witness the player desecrate the minion's remnants). Their items stay, however (this is different from summons, I think).
Regarding items, i.e. loot beyond standard equipment (weapon, armour): it should be rare, e.g. only have a chance to appear at sufficient piety. (It'd be good if their standard gear increases, on average, with piety.)

dpeg 2011-09-10 17:33

Race Names Speech
Angel Gnostic names http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/apocjn.html

Minions:

God Minion Items
Ash Curse skull/toe? (A bit gimmicky) good items with permacurse
Chei Slow/cumbersome (slugs, golems, boosted up, with spells)
Ely perhaps Elyvilon should never send someone? Statues? Healing pots, healing wand (rare)
Fedh Hunters, mushrooms, perhaps spawn oklobs Food
Kiku Necromancers, Undead (e.g. (Ancient) Lich), pain/torment Staff of Death, Necromancy books
Nem Dwarves, Spriggans Decks, rarely rods and other evokables
Makh Demons, Summoners
Oka Mercenaries Good weapons
Sif Wizards (focus on non-conjurations where possible) Books (particularly utility)
Trog Berserkers, ideally of BiA type (with MR and Regen) Weapons, armour
TSO Daeva (perhaps with ally daevas) Holy brand
Veh Conjurers (DE, Sp, Ke) High-level (random) conjuration books
Xom Chaos Knights or just about anything
also chaos spawn, (glowing) shapeshifters, Killerklowns
Randomness
Yred Death Knights, Bone Dragons, Profane Servitors the weapons will be enough
Zin Angel holy brand, or amulet of rMut (rare)

Implementation

I see two ways the minions can be implemented:

  1. Purely in code, with a switch case for each god setting up monster creation parameters. It's the most direct way, but with a lot of hard-coded and special-cased parameters.
  2. Using vaults and Lua, along the lines of how uniques are currently implemented. Grants a lot more flexibility; could even have certain gods spawn small vault maps (e.g. Fedhas spawning plants and oklobs around the minion), or even small portal vaults. Might require a small number of new Lua functions, but probably everything needed is already there. Will be very easy to adjust and add new minion templates. Could be very neat and flexible.

Interaction with altars

By Lemuel, from 2792832: a demigod cannot move onto or next to altars. This should be made clear by displaying the eight surrounding squares of every altar in the altar's colour (no matter what's on them). This will be mostly flavour but can be used to interesting effect in the special deathmatch portal vaults.

Alternative (which I like a bit better for future Lugonu altar corruption purposes): you can move onto an altar but you will get hurt. I.e. you will trigger some wrath effect. (Rationale: the gods don't want someone like you to touch their sacred shrines. Of course, one could to extend this to undead trying to step on/near altars of good gods.)

Interface: mark all squares adjacent to a 'hostile altar' in the colour of the altar. Put travel exclusions on the floor squares adjacent to the altar.

Big question: We don't have to extend the idea to undead players but if we do, should the same rule apply to monster undead?

By doing this, we could make some tactically interesting vaults, at least for demigods and undead.

Invocations aptitude

2919064, suggesting to make Demigods worse at Invocations.

Other ideas

See 2792832. The essential ideas are these, details are in the FR. Move here if you think it's worthwhile:

  1. One of the Crawl gods is your ancestor (random choice of god.
  2. Trying to replace one god (whose wrath you'll earn).
  3. You are powerful but need a god to reach godhood (wrath by all the other gods).
  4. DG as a good species.
  5. Your power is reflected by followers; your (abstract) treatment of them shapes powers — this is like the abstract_worshippers proposal, only with the addition that you can affect your followers
  6. Your godly origin is unspecified and all Crawl gods hate you. From time to time, you will be challenged by the gods (can track conducts to figure out who hates you most). This could be standard wrath effects but sometimes more elaborate: small portal vaults where you fight against a champion of some god (no bailing out possible). This would be cool, and provide a nice opportunity to pick up loot for your endeavours.
  7. Fight Lugonu to win the other gods' respect.

Possibility of this

How possible is this idea and when will we see it come to fruition? I really love this idea and I'm 100% behind it. Demigods are currently so boring and are at a huge disadvantage due to not being able to be religious. - King Slime

Part of the problem with this disadvantage of demigods is that the powers of gods in the game have become stronger since Linley's original. - Tromboneandrew

I strongly disapprove of the ideas on this page. Demigod is simple and unique and works very well at the moment. — TGW 2010-03-10 02:55

Demigods ignore a major character-defining aspect of the game and get some bigger numbers in return. It might be “simple and unique and work very well,” but it's also astoundingly dull. — OG17 2010-03-10 03:52

Other other ideas

Here is some more brainstorming from https://crawl.develz.org/mantis/view.php?id=1727: - As demigods they should be able to have a stronger connection to a God than another mortal. But, you could make it so that the God is randomly chosen at “birth” (as the deity that sired you) and cannot be renounced. Perhaps piety would increase a little more quickly, but also be punished more strongly for transgressions.

- Lower the XP requirement (but this wouldn't make them much more interesting, just easier to play). On similar lines, match their aptitudes to humans (or, allow Demigod as an option for any race - you get better stats but can't worship a God and need 10% more XP to level)

- Because of their genetic stock, they could be more resistant to mutation / rot / stat loss / other forms of degradation?

- Create a special God that all Demigods would be stuck with, with certain abilities (smite, divine radiance?)

- Rather than one “targeted” god, grant a random collection of abilities due to a variety of gods in their family tree. Piety would accumulate on some generic basis, perhaps as XP is earned, and diminish when no XP is being earned.

- Improve their magical skills due to their connection with the divine (summoning, perhaps?).

- an innate “cause fear” ability, coupled with punishment for killing little things that you could have just scared away.

- Give them more stat points as wanderers (eg. 4-4-4 instead of 2-2-2). It would be neat to play a truly “blank slate” starting character that has a better chance of surviving than a human wanderer.

- They could have an ability to construct an altar (out of stones or boulders), and then some ability / requirement to use the altar (healing, remove curse, gain piety, collect donations, sacrifice corpses / items, etc.)

- Or, the ability to destroy altars of other gods, and have a chance of a god gift when doing so (or finding a bunch of gold, or getting cured, etc.)

The two above ideas could be merged into one: you can convert existing altars to yours. This seems more interesting tactically (you can't create altars anytime or choose their location) and flavor-wise, since you are diminishing a God's presence while promoting yours. — tukkek 2013-02-24 13:23

- Allow them to wield very large weapons (giant spiked club) because they are so badass.

- Start with a randart

- Start in the ecumenical temple (and have to choose a god for life)

- When they are badly hurt (low HP warning), there is a chance of a divine reaction that startles (cause fear) creatures in the vicinity

Some nerfs to balance out the buffs and make it more interesting: - Very unstealthy due a divine aura. Presence is hard to disguise. Permanent magical contamination glow?

-As suggested above, no ability to change gods

- Creatures aligned with other gods are enraged / berserked in your presence

- divine punishment for doing something beneath your dignity, such as eating chunks, or killing very weak creatures compared to yourself, or using a wand of draining to reduce a monster's hit dice (or paralysis or confusion etc.). Daddy didn't raise no chicken.

- shopkeepers raise their prices 50% “just for special customers like you”

- Occasionally, a “worthy opponent” is sent to test your mettle

Alternate Proposal

This is a variation on dpeg's proposal with a few other ideas lifted from other suggestions above.

Demigods definitely need a God-like mechanic to keep them interesting. When I'm playing Random Character, demigods are the only character I abort. I play mummies, I play humans, I play thieves, I play Troll conjurors and Ghoul Berserkers. But I just can't get excited about the idea of playing a Demigod.

Piety

The “piety” that a Demigod gains represents his ascension to full godhood. It comes in five discreet chunks that are roughly analogous to the piety star levels of other gods. The only way to gain piety is to collect Runes. The first time the player takes any given Rune into his inventory, his piety level is incremented permanently by one (to a maximum of five), regardless of what later happens to that Rune. There is no way to lose piety.

Piety Levels

  • Level 0 - No abilities. Demigods play exactly as they currently do.
  • Level 1 - Inspire Awe (Invocation, 5 mp) - Works as a scroll of fear that only affects sentient creatures. Once any given creature has recovered from the effect, it is immune to it for a hundred turns or so.
    • Sentient creatures past a player's first rune worth their beans aren't very scared by scrolls of fear or resist too much to make them useful, and the post-effect immunity is rather like the Cause Fear spell. This also sounds a bit like a fear-only Recite with no downsides. Either way, to me it looks either grossly overpowered or useless. Alternate proposal: small explosion of dazzling divine radiance/energy/whatever targeted on the player attempting to induce confusion/frenzy/fear upon hit monsters. — MrMisterMonkey 2010-07-24 16:34
  • Level 2 - Anoint Prophet (Invocation, 5 mp) - Permanently tames any single sentient living creature (including uniques) that is currently at 25% or less of its maximum health. Bypasses magic resistance. The player may only have one prophet at a time. Taming a new prophet will render the previous (spurned) prophet hostile. If a player is on a different level from any living prophet (including spurned prophets) for more than a hundred turns or so, they are silently (or not silently?) moved to somewhere on that level.
    • This sounds a bit like Enslave Soul without the (interesting) downside of having to make the target vulnerable and kill it quickly from high hp (and no built-in recall, which is a pain). — MrMisterMonkey 2010-07-24 16:44
  • Level 3 - Transcend Biology (Passive) - Gain poison resistance, Rot resistance, Clarity, Mutation resistance, Sustain Abilities and Mummy-like non-eating.
  • Level 4 - Convert Altar (Invocation, 10 mp) - Converts any altar the demigod is standing on to be an altar to him. This results in an immediate powerful wrath effect from the affected God. Each of the first ten altars converted this way results in a permanent +1 to all three attributes (up to a maximum of +10). Altars in the Ecumenical Temple can not be converted (or maybe ONE of them can?). The Demigod gains regeneration, full elemental resistance and maybe some other buffs while in line of sight from one of his altars. This is also the point at which the other gods start to worry about the demigod’s ambitions (after all, if he was just trying to get the Orb of Zot, he would have stopped after three runes, right?). Starting from the moment at which the player achieves four piety the demigod suffers the simultaneous wrath of all 17 gods (16 if the Royal Jelly has been slain). The punishments don’t all come at once, but rather every couple of hundred turns one of the gods (chosen at random) will unleash a punishment upon you. This wrath does not time out until the player achieves five piety.
    • From my understanding, unless the player's fourth rune is Pan or Abyssal, it's possible to clear and loot the respective rune level without grabbing the rune, grab a fifth rune first, and quickly nab the fourth, while suffering minimal wrath when it's not all that bad (no challenging gameplay, assuming dealing with any additional spawning is trivial). Also, are there even enough altars around the dungeon to make the effects from converted altars worthwhile? Similarly, encouraging dancing over to altars for combat boosts doesn't sound very fun to me. — MrMisterMonkey 2010-07-24 16:34
  • Level 5 - God Incarnate - Something Awesome. I’m not really sure what powers/abilities should be gained at this level in order to make sense. Permaflight and Full elemental resistance perhaps. Also the ability to inspire devotion from intelligent followers à la Beogh (but not limited to Orcs). Maybe an invokable ability (with a long cooldown) that instantly refills your HP and MP to full. This is the level that I am most unclear on as it should be good enough to be above the curve for late game powers, while still not totally breaking the game.
    • Permaflight is Kenkus' gimmick (but they also get some swiftness so they're even better); inspiring devotion in non-orcs is probably overpowered (considering it's late-game, for it to be at all useful it'd have to affect high-end monsters; would a draconian army in Zot be overpowered for non-shadow-creatures-summoners?) or useless (not enough conversion; friendlies are killed off quickly); for the HP/MP refill, long cooldown means lots of waiting, so I'd advise giving it a downside like Borgnjor's Revivification's rotting or a crystal ball of energy's statdrain, MP drain, confusion, and favoring of using it at high MP. — MrMisterMonkey 2010-07-24 17:27

Basic assumptions of this proposal

  • Demigods are more powerful than most other species in the very early (pre-temple) game, as they should be. They should be neither buffed nor nerfed significantly in this segment.
  • Demigods are less powerful than most species in the early-mid game (defined roughly as the the time between achieving a few point of piety with your chosen god and collecting your first rune), as they should be. They should be neither buffed nor nerfed significantly in this segment.
  • Demigods are substantially less powerful than other species from late-mid game on. Also, boring as hell. This is where the changes should be focused.
    • Boring is subjective (they're actually one of my favorite species), but they are most certainly not weak in the late or extended game. I pretty much laughed my way through DGTm and DGAE 15-runers. The disadvantage of a 160 XP aptitude suddenly disappears when you're level 27, and you have great HP, MP, EV, SH, spell power, etc. — minmay 2011-05-09 23:50
    • I agree with minmay. Demigods are powerful, just plain and a bit boring. You can can cast mid-level spells in medium armour and still have good fighting skills. In a 4 rune game, I entered Zot:5 with 20 Fighting, Ice Dragon Armour, Death Channel. Demigods deliver what humans failed to - a versatile race which can do anything (good casting, good armour, AND dodging/stealth). — b0rsuk 2011-06-15 19:42
  • A player doing a standard 3-rune victory should get access to some of the new Demigod powers so as to make the species interesting to players at this level. But a Piety 3 demigod should still probably be somewhat less powerful than a late-game character worshipping a proper god.
  • Ideally, however, a Demigod character played for long enough should be able to achieve heights of power beyond those available to lesser beings. Hence the importance of finding the right level of awesome to include in the Piety 5 slot.
  • All the same, Demigods should have some late-game drawback that makes it so that they aren't a no-brainer for 15-rune runs. Hence the need for the ongoing un-hide-and-wait-able wrath at the Piety 4 slot. The punishments should be balanced to a frequency that poses a real threat of killing the character.
  • As the proposal stands right now, a player using a Demigod for a 3 rune victory will get several advantages with no drawbacks. Given how undesirable Demigods are right now, I’m assuming that this is okay. It may turn out that a few early game disadvantages are necessary. Perhaps simply making aptitudes slightly worse would be sufficient.

Miscellany

Plenty of the suggestions and tidbits from the original proposal as well as from the Other Ideas and Other Other Ideas segment above could also be integrated easily. Particularly, I think that taking damage within a certain range from altars to other gods would play well, especially given the Piety 4 power. — 256 2010-07-21 05:33

Yet Another Proposal

Demigods should get stronger and stronger, not weaker and weaker (like now). They should be able to become near-omnipotent, getting almost any ability from any other god.

I disagree. Every character who survives gets stronger. (Opposition may grow stronger on a faster scale, but that's another point.) No character in Crawl should become near-omnipotent. And under no circumstances will demigods get access to abilities from gods. (Gods are balanced using piety and conducts. You cannot simply use divine abilities for a species and expect any kind of balance.) — dpeg 2010-10-21 19:37

Having potential to reach godly level of power doesn't necessarily mean that it should be easy to do so. — SinsI 2010-10-21 22:15

Do you mean it should encourage powergaming or scumming for a required chance or something? Please elaborate. — MrMisterMonkey 2010-10-21 22:50

They should have only one guaranteed ability, though:

  • Absorb (item/altar) power. Turns any weapon/armor into mundane version, with no bonuses/extra abilities. (negative enchants/curses might hurt them). Destroys altars. Increases their “piety”, training Invocation.

Absorbing power from an item dedicated to some god/absorbing power from an altar by desecrating it/eating a corpse of an (un)holy servant allows to steal some power from that god, ensuing his wrath and getting some of his granted abilities (ability stolen depends on his current piety level).

To make this more of an intelligent choice, they should only be able to hold a limited number of abilities at the same time, based on their “piety”/Invocation. — Sinsi 2010-10-20 22:51

This definitely sounds like powergaming encouragement. It's easy enough to choose an extremely powerful set of abilities, and this would require a whole lot of balance. Powers aren't designed to be mismatched like that, unless I'm misunderstanding. — MrMisterMonkey 2010-10-21 22:50
I don't like the altar destruction because that is planned for Lugonu. — dpeg 2010-10-21 19:37

Didn't he just convert them into his? And destroying altars of opposition should be a good way to gain piety for most gods. — SinsI 2010-10-21 22:17

The lugonu article explains all of that. — MrMisterMonkey 2010-10-21 22:50

Opinion and suggestions after reading

Timbermaw 2010-07-23 02:03
Since the discussion looks stalled, I'll be blunt and to the point (note that these are entirely my opinions. Take, contribute or reject them);
Also note that i'm merely posting my suggestions because the page is open. I in no way, shape or form think demigods are boring at the moment. I'm a newbie and still have to beat crawl, tho. Writing suggestions is good sometimes.

Why stalled? — dpeg 2010-10-21 19:37
  • I don't think demigods need anything fancy. Flavor text is fine (like the followers building you altars and stuff) but filling them with powers every stage of the game would turn their gameplay into Zelda-like, where you get a bunch of useless skills, weapons and items for progressing. I hate the zelda games, so I think this is simply awful.
  • If you think demigod is boring for lack of powers then obviously you don't care about a character that is simply focused on brute-force. If you want abilities, go demonspawn or follow an ability god. Me, i like demigod for their simpleness. They are buff, end of story.
  • I really liked the idea of the demigod getting help from regular people. The other species ask for divine favours. The demigod can only rely on his own strength or the infrequent benevolence of civilization.
  • Since there was talk about gaining increased piety, my only suggestion is give them only 1 power at maximum piety: resurrection.
    • Resurrection: With legions of followers praying for you, if you happen to perish in battle you will regain life through faith. You are a demi-god after all. This resurrection would take up 1000 turns (or more, so enemies move around and stuff is not exactly how it was when you died), and get you back to full HP and MP. I pictured a resurrect sickness interval of sorts (and removal of all your piety). You should get Exp and skill drained OR lose maximum hp and revive with a strong rotting status.
      A gravestone could be put where you died, just for show. So the demigod would be cool for exploring places you've never been before. I pictured you could reach the power status at around level 15. And by level 24 you'd get another (or just 1 max).
      • What happens if your body is destroyed in death, perhaps by incineration or disintegration? — MrMisterMonkey 2010-07-24 17:50
  • Or, taking from the whole followers idea again: a scroll of acquirement-like effect every few levels; “Some have heard of your divine deeds and offered you a mighty token to aid you in your quest. You should savor it before they change their minds!”.
    • This could also introduce unique items to the demigod. Perchance, you could hear your followers crying for help and you get an item related to that prayer. A monk that had his house burnt could have this feeling channeled to you. With the feeling on your mind, you would make an item, say a “something of Jahid's Patience” (obviously i lack the proper english literature knowledge to devise meaningful names). Then we would add the story to the enchantment put on the item. This particular enchantment could grant Rn+ and +2 to all stats.
      Then again, this idea kinda turns them into item artisans. But i liked the concept.
The resurrection theme seems now taken by the Felid species.
Scrolls of acquirement are just “fancy”. They don't make the species play much differently, it's just like Okawaru's gifts.
Part of my proposal is that you're just an ordinary dungeon dweller and you become a god by people believing in you. This does not mean that you have any powers — it is their superstition to treat your mundane killing and looting as divine activities. — dpeg 2010-10-21 19:37
  • Or we could also introduce a new concept to crawl: demigods, when they die, have a chance to be resurrected by all the reasons stated before.
    • but this resurrection would be different! The demigod would actually get stronger after dying. Just like all the sci-fi movies we watch on tv (matrix was airing yesterday), this revival would not be guaranteed, so you cannot expect it. Or we could actually force it. As was said above, demigods get weak mid-late game. So they will eventually die. The later the demigod dies, the stronger he becomes. When this happens, text shows up telling you you proved your worthiness and advanced to godhood. At this point, you lose any previous power you had and get more useful passive ones. Or i don't know. Something awesome. Stats get multiplied by 1.5? +stats? A new god (your father/mother) with an undoubtful caring for one of his few proved sons/daughters? level 27 and all skills level 27? (lol)
      • I really don't like the idea of death being a good thing; making it optimal and basing it on chance doesn't help. — MrMisterMonkey 2010-07-24 17:50
I agree with MrMisterMonkey. I do see that playing Demigods can be less fun than other species, as the god axis is completely missing. But I advocate against using abilities, mutations, gifts to repair this. For this, we already have draconians, demonspawns, gods. My proposal is about adding flavour in such a way that en passent explains how the Crawl gods tick and which may provide some thematic fights (so whatever you may get, there is some risk involved). — dpeg 2010-10-21 19:37
  • Another differrent mechanic: usually, your god gets your soul after death. Demigods have a powerful ability to capture souls and imbibe them into their weapons, armor and items, thus pissing off all the ordinary gods. Usually, gods have their own named artefacts - Artemis' bow, Thor's hammer, etc. - and this would be a way for the player to get some self-made artifacts. This can either be an activated soul-steal ability that you have to use before killing, or a growth-type ability - everything you use gets better based on total XP gained while using it. Depending on whose soul you used, other gods can send thematic opposition. — SinsI 2011-04-04 20:34

Battle For Divinity

I saw a proposal in the bug tracker about DG fighting with minions of gods as they gain more worshipers, and the idea is interesting, though it doesn't make a lot of sense that every single god feels threatened by you. If you were some kind of paladin, then you wouldn't be stealing worshipers from Kiku, but it also doesn't make sense for TSO to want you dead… unless, you were encroaching on TSO's divinity by trying to steal his 'aspect'.

My proposal is that DG can “pray” at an altar to begin fighting a god for his divinity. At first, this would do nothing, but gradually as the player gains piety from his worshipers (ala dpeg's proposal) he gains the abilities of the god he is contesting. Of course, the god won't take this lying down, and will engage in combat with the player by summoning his earthly minions and avatars to do battle.

A demigod conjurer could, for instance, become the new god of hermetic destruction by the end of the game, displacing Vehumet and gaining his abilities directly. When a DG gains a god's ability, this will be very powerful, as they get to channel the ability directly, instead of relying on a capricious god. But the power of being able to, say, invoke what used to be Okawaru's might on command is balanced by the struggle with Okawaru, who will try to destroy the player who is encroaching on his divinity.

“Basically worshipping a god while basically suffering wrath effects” doesn't sound all that different from “not being a demigod,” and piety-free abilities are a pretty huge balance and interface problem. — OG17 2011-01-09 23:07

The Externalist Solution

In traditional mythologies, demigods often didn't have much in the way of divine stature - they were humans who could do some things really, really well. Think Hercules. The current approach to demigods (massive hitpoints and stat growth) captures this flavor well, but massive stat growth isn't very exciting right now. It should feel awesome to have the strength of Hercules - you should be able to do things even the strongest mortal can't, not just carry another dozen wands. I think the best way to fix demigods is to add incentives to very, very high stats - that is, numbers that can't be achieved by other species without significant magical assistance. As (doubtless unbalanced) examples: every 4 points of Str above 40 (or some other suitable level) give 1 point of damage reduction; dexterity above 40 gives swift movement; intelligence above 40 allows casting two spells per turn. The feel should be epic enough to make gods seem unnecessary.

I love the feel of a character totally on his own with own with nothing but incredible personal power, and that's something all of the proposals for worship and combat with the gods lose. An approach that deals with extreme stats in general is definitely more complicated to balance, but I think it will also be more satisfying. —pepperfez 2011-05-09 10:35

I like your idea but there's another reason Demigods feel boring: they have bad aptitudes in almost everything. Perhaps we could solve this by giving them +1 in Fighting, Spellcasting, and Dodging. That would fit in nicely with the whole massive attributes idea. We could also give them +2 in a single additional stat of their choice, representing their divine specialty. — Cyclone 2013-06-26 4:13 PM

Passive Altar Detection

As a Divine being, it would not be out of the realm of possibility for them to be in-tune with the divine, allowing them to detect altars along the same lines of Deep Dwarves passive mapping. This could be implemented either as a range (increasing with experience, like Deep Dwarves) or as a flat “detect all altars on the level on entry to the level”. It would not state which altar is which. This ability would either not work in The Abyss, or would be unable to detect altars of Lugonu. It provides a slight directional advantage.

Amulet of Faith Interaction

For Demigods (only), the currently useless Amulet of Faith could grant a special ability; perhaps a faster rate of MP (or HP) regeneration.

Rename demigods to titans or asuras

As stated in header.

Reasoning:

  • Demigods from hystorical religions didn't oppose gods all the time. For example, Nandi got divine status through serving Shiva, and Caesar was chief priest in temple of Jupiter.
  • Titans, on the other hand, are just like that: mighty jealous warlike materialists, openly challenging and opposing gods. Think Prometheus, Fenris, Ammut, Leto, Eos.
  • Technically, at least three other playable races in DCSS are mythological demigods: minotaurs, centaurs and nagae. Some monsters fall into this cathegory too, most extreme example being Dissolution.

Titan (monster) can be remade into Valkyrie, and Arachne's type changed to titan. Materialistic gods (Gozag, Jiyva) can be referred as particularly busy titans.

Buddhist cosmology gives an especially interesting spin on titans.

While all the gods are subject to the passions to some degree, the Asuras above all of them have become addicted to them, especially wrath, pride, envy, insincerity, falseness, boasting, and bellicosity. Because of their passions, rebirth as an Asura is considered to be one of the four unhappy births (together with rebirth as an animal, a preta, or a being in Naraka). The state of an Asura reflects the mental state of a human being obsessed with ego, force and violence, always looking for an excuse to get into a fight, angry with everyone and unable to maintain calm or solve problems peacefully.

So - titans are all about anger and impatience. I suggest giving them innate Berserk 1, Scream 3, Motormouth (50% chance that spell will be cast in 0 auts) and Wild Magic 2 and kicking their stats even higher. This combination would create unique gameplay. Warriors and hybrids could plow through nastier monsters - but they would have to constantly manage risk of passing out next to something dangerous. Mages would enjoy unmatched spellpower - but for price of spell success chance.

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