Name dcss:brainstorm:species:Draconian
Summary Diversify Draconians
Further Information 1742455 1865186 2764299 2873810
Added by psyshvl
Added on 2010-02-14 03:35

Global matters

  • Draconians have already been updated. Specification at 2705; I think there have been some changes since then, but I don't know if they're all nicely documented anywhere, and I don't feel like looking them up. — MrMisterMonkey 2010-10-30 04:23
  • Uniformity among draconian types. The question whether all draconian types should be similar, e.g. a breath weapon, a resistance, one better aptitude, one worse aptitude.
    There can be good designs with either answer. I prefer a basic system for most draconians, together with some exceptions. — dpeg 2010-09-29 19:08
  • Symmetry with dragons. Frequently, there is the proposal to make draconian colours related to dragon colours. However, this will require quite some juggling in the 'D' and 'd' glyph sets, and perhaps also for 'l'. To me, it is not clear this gains anything apart from symmetry (which is not of much value in itself). — dpeg 2010-09-29 19:08
  • Impact of colour. We want the different colours to have an impact on the game. But how much impact is a matter of taste. I don't think we want the colour to dominate the game, however. So there is some space between “negligible” and “dominating”. — dpeg 2010-09-29 19:08
  • No Selection! We will not open up draconian colour to direct (prompt) or indirect (skills) selection. There are several reasons for this: Draconians are (like Demonspawns) are species about flexibility and adaptation. Instead of complaining that a DrFE turned white (which isn't even that bad, by the way, thing of a ring of fire), rather make FE and IE non-recommended backgrounds for draconians.
    Next, players have been gaming the randomised species since ever. We don't want that, and the only way to achieve that is by having no such mechanics.
    Finally, such choices are needless anachronisms against real life: if we assume that the colour is a genetic expression (it is stated like this in the descriptions), then training will not change the resulting colour. (We are fine with bending reallife expectiations whenever useful, but here it is neither needed nor desired.)
    See the old discussion here.
  • Distinction from Demonspawns. Since Demonspawn are about random mutations, we should not use this idea for draconians.
I agree that symmetry is overrated here. I would like to be like a dragon X or Y if they were interesting. However, they are not. Dragons are mostly boring, bigger firedrakes. Monster dragons are not a good example to follow. — b0rsuk 2010-10-16 06:45

New Feedback

I don't like grey draconians. It seems wrong that their unique trait is a complete departure from the template established by other colours. Nothing wrong with them per se, they just don't feel like draconians at all. Perhaps make it an earth-apt draconian (black doesn't currently have a friend). — TGW 2010-11-23 17:06

I'm playing a Draconian Venom Mage and, for the first time, I'm genuinely enjoying it. It also has to do with the decision to include Olgreb's Toxic Radiance in the starting spellbook. Anyway, let's step back a bit. The extra AC helps, but I think draconians are merely breaking even now. Their advantages over other races are the initial resistance and breath. AC bonus doesn't feel like an advantage over other races, at all. By the point scales grow enough, other races would've found some plain misc armour (helmets, boots, gauntlets - stuff draconians can't wear).

I think AC advantage should be one of selling points of draconians. Draconians should be the toughest among light armour users. Ogres will remain as the most “HP-iest” among light armour users. I see two ways to improve the current situation:

  • Boost draconian AC bonus even further
  • Change armour restrictions: allow gloves(bucklers?), helmets and boots, remove body armour slot (robes)

And here's why I prefer the second option: 1) it would be more distinctive, no race has restrictions like that. 2) psychology - I've encountered an armour shop and there's literally nothing in there I can wear. Similarly, randarts. 3) Loss of robe is not such a big deal now that their maximum enchantment is 2. Branded robes are another matter, but with extra AC and occasional resists from re-enabled slots it shouldn't be bad. — b0rsuk 2011-06-16 03:57

As a player whose favourite spellcaster race already is draconians (and the AC advantage is the selling point), I would be sad to lose the body slot. Remember that a draconian can wear a +5 mottled dragon armour on top of those scales. There's something sort of fitting about draconian + dragon armour. — Vivificient 2011-09-16 06:32
I like b0rsuk's modified armour restrictions. This could also allow proper wings, in case we want that. — dpeg 2011-09-16 11:03
I did implement b0rsuk's changes, but after some testing, I'm seriously pondering reverting them:
  • you're likely to not find any piece of gear in the first few dungeon levels
  • having several rare slots you need to fill makes the hunt frustrating. Unlike felids or octopodes where you simply don't look at armour and ignore them the way you'd ignore any weapons but axes on an axes char, you need more than a single glance since you're looking for multiple types. I find myself often running ^F queries to check if I missed something, something I hardly ever do in regular play.
  • we'd need serious re-tiling all of draconian monsters. They need distinct gear to show their professions, too.
  • what should Tiamat wear? Her GDA is kind of like Sigmund's scythe. — KiloByte 2011-09-17 22:06
I dislike restricting the body armour slot because, frankly, it's the only interesting armour slot. For the other slots, among all the items you're likely to have available one will nearly always obviously the best, unless you have multiple randarts for one slot (very rare) - cloaks of preservation and boots of running are vastly more useful than any of the other egos, one of the glove egos will clearly be the best depending on your build (str for heavy armour, dex for light armour, archery for ranged users).
Body armour, on the other hand, has a lot of different competitive options - deciding whether to use a light dragon armour instead of a robe, or deciding whether to spend the enchant armour scrolls on upgrading from plate mail to storm dragon armour. — minmay 2011-09-18 00:34
I think it would be cool if Dr actually had a good armour apt and were encouraged to use various dragon armours. — st 2011-09-18 02:20
It's probably worth at least testing the current state for a bit longer, but I wouldn't be opposed to reverting it and improving the draconian armour apt somewhat instead (even an armour apt of 0 would differentiate them from the other restricted-slot/hybrid races significantly - all the others have either very poor armour apts, or deformed body in the case of nagas/centaurs). — MarvinPA 2011-09-20 18:17
I would say that a significant loss to the species from losing a body armor slot is the inability to acquire resistances. Gloves, boots, cloaks (and their randarts) are more rare than ego robes and thus in addition to being slower to acquire AC, it is more difficult to acquire resistances: rF, rC, and MR. I suppose acquiring rP has not changed, though. (BTW - Just started a draconian in trunk and did not know about the body armor slot change and I found a +7 storm dragon armour with rN and +INV on Dowan, and a randart rC robe :| ) — Tenaya 2011-09-27 18:54
I've won a drac after this change and I'm not fond of it. In versions of old, draconians were a pseudo-large race, large equipment slots and poor dex which gave them low EV (dracs were one of the few reasons to ever raise dex), I like how this puts them in a nice group of Naga/Centaur/Drac of weird-body sort of large races. Right now they feel like humans; they have good dex and basically the same equipment, note that the lack of reliable resistance from a robe also makes them more similar to octopodes and felids in relying on jewellery for it. I don't feel as though this change has made them any more unique or interesting. — st 2011-10-22 20:35
I came up with something similar for octopodes, but what about allowing draconians to wear dragon armours only? Robes and troll leather give way to steam dragon armour and mottled dragon armour. Their Armour aptitude should go up along with this, of course, and they should probably lose some of that natural AC. A neat thing about this system is that you need to deal with a significant EVP if you want useful resistances on your body armour. — minmay 2011-11-17 00:00
I just wanted to second this. I think it's highly thematic and strategically interesting (and also likely to cause some of the rarely-used dragon armors to actually see use!), and also unique among the races (which is an important point of distinction). Sure, not being able to use any body armor at all while still having other slots is [i]also[/i] unique, but 'no body armor' is a much less interesting sort of unique than restricting them to a class in which there are plenty of viable and useful armors yet which also does not contain the default standards for most types of characters. So this creates interesting choices which would not otherwise exist (most people would simply use a robe and be done with it), instead of simply removing that choice entirely. — DracoOmega 2011-11-18 02:25
If this stays in, how about lowering draconians' spellcasting aptitudes? The lack of body armour means no body armour casting penalties, which makes spells for draconians cheaper than they should be. — minmay 2012-01-16 20:14


I feel that breath mechanics (recharges after X turns) encourages kiting - run away until it recharges. It rarely produces interesting situations, mostly just boredom.

One solution is to replace “recharge over time” with “recharge by eating”. The idea is that breath never recharges on its own, rather, it recharges after you finish eating something (even a strawberry), possibly with some minor random factor (0-2 turns). This change would make using breath weapon more thoughtful, discourage kiting, and make food items more distinctive. — b0rsuk 2012-10-31 20:44

More of the same

A recurring idea is to make foo draconians resistant to foo and get better aptitudes for foo magic. However, this hurts variety and from gameplay point of view is just not useful: if you can already breathe fire, you don't necessarily want more fire. Not in a game where the main difference between elements is which groups of monsters can be killed by them. I don't have an idea for a fix but it's something to think about; I don't think current situation is good design. I also see this pattern in Fire Magic/Flame Weapon Ice Magic/Frost Weapon. Contrast this to POWDER where Death magic contains Poison spells, death energy spells, and also allows to summon creatures; imp can even cast fireballs. Contrast with Dominons2/3 where high level Nature (or whatever) summons diversify your magic instead of narrowing it (you can summon a mage who gives you access to another school of magic. Useful, but expensive.) — b0rsuk 2012-10-31 20:54

Yellow Draconian Feedback

I think this is the worst draconian now. Acid breath deals poor damage and special effect kicks in too rarely (the same is true for acidic bite even with unarmed training). There's a cooldown on acid breath, it uses a lot of nutrition and it has to hit too ! And when it hits, corrosion/bleeding happens only half of the time or so. And even when the effect triggers, bleeding is bugged and deals absolutely no noticable damage. I never had an enemy die due to bleeding !

My proposal for improvement (all of the following):

  • every single hit with acid corrodes armour
  • replace bleeding effect with corrosion of natural carapace
I like this. — evktalo 2011-06-18 07:46

Reason for the replacement of bleeding: there are already enough damage over time effects - poison and sticky flame. It encourages kiting, it's optimal to run away a bit before fighting. Also, consistency. I would prefer if acid also corroded natural armour (snapping turtles, beetles, elephants, dragons, golems except crystal, skeletal warriors, bone dragons, iron dragons/demons/imps, curse skulls… but not ethereal stuff like orbs of fire I guess, and no “soft” enemies like jellies, amoebas, eyes). That way acid becomes more than a gimmick and players could opt for weapons they normally avoid due to low AC penetration (ranged weapons, even slings, LRD, short blades and small weapons in general). — b0rsuk 2011-06-17 13:25

Draconian Variety Improvement

It's always bothered me a bit that despite the theme of draconians being adapting to whatever you grow up to be and using the breath ability you get; there is no real balance to the draconian forms; at least in terms of Aptitude totals and elemental affinities.

As it stands there are:

  • 3 -Fire- (Red, Mottled, Pale)
  • 2 -Air- (Pale, Black)
  • 1 -Poison- (Green)
  • 1 -Ice- (White)
  • 1 -Earth- (Grey)
  • 1 -Acid- (Yellow) [which has NO apt changes at all]
  • 1 -Spellcasting- (Purple)

Furthermore of these; the Apt. totals vary:

  • +5 - Purple
  • +3 - Pale
  • +2 - Green
  • +1 - Pale
  • +0 - Red, White, Black, Grey, Yellow

I'm proposing that Draconians are reformed such that:

  • There is no obvious bias towards a particular element/magic school, so it can be more random feeling.
  • All Draconians keep the same aptitude total.

Here's one concept on how to accomplish this; I don't know how solid it is. I tried to approach (2) to each elemental spell school and (1) to each other apt used; but it isn't perfectly there. Also each has a different free resist or ego. None of those match.

  • Red - +3 Fire; -2 Ice. rF+ Breath unchanged.
  • Mottled - +2 Fire; +1 Spellcasting; -2 Ice. rSticky Breath unchanged.
  • Purple - +3 Spellcasting; -2 Fighting. MR+. Breath unchanged.
  • White - +3 Ice; -2 Fire. rC+ Breath changed to freezing/slowing effect like Glaciate. Damage uneffected.
  • Silver - +3 Earth; -2 Necro. AC+ Breath based on Metal Splinters dragon effect (ranged powerful pure physical, checks AC).
  • Cyan - +3 Air; -2 Earth. Fast 1. Air Blast: Weak physical damage, ignores AR; knocks target back 1d4 spaces. Increased damage if they hit something.
  • Brown - +2 Earth; +1 Fighting ; -2 Air. Robust 1 Calcifying Breath: AoE Petrify using similar rules to Catoblepas breath.
  • Black - +3 Necro; -2 Pois. Saprovore. Draining breath.
  • Pearl - +3 Fighting; -2 Spellcasting. rN. Holy breath; may paralyze demons. (Would be only non-TSO source of ranged holy).
  • Orange - +2 Air, -1 Translocations. rElec. Uses what is now Black's breath.
  • Green - +3 Summoning, -2 Translocations. rCorr. Fertile breath: Summons briars, mushrooms and plants between you and target.
  • Yellow - +3 Poison, -2 Necromancy. rPois. Combines current green and yellow (Weak attack can corrode and/or poison.)
  • Pale - +1 Ice, +1 Translocations -1 Fire. LoS -1. Breaths fog (no damage; but blocks LoS).
  • Grey - +3 Translocations; -2 Summoning. cTele. Teleport other breath.
  • Pink - +2 Hexes; -1 Charms. Clarity. Ensorcering Breath - Uses Level vs. target's HD to try to pacify or enslave (both effects temporary).
  • Shiny - +2 Charms; -1 Hexes. EV+. Has ability to evoke Repel Missiles instead of breath.

Draconian Wearables

Playable Draconian needs armor. NPC draconians have their own. Even winged gargoiles can wear clothes.

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dcss/brainstorm/species/draconian.txt · Last modified: 2015-10-16 10:47 by Volbarr
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