A species that is spriggan-sized, with the same evasion, whose aptitudes and abilities favor neither stealth nor casting, but instead melee fighting, ranged fighting, and evocations. This would present a challenge, since they would have the same HP as spriggans, but lack the quick movement to escape, and the metabolism to sustain repeated escapes.


The last three races to be introduced, namely Vp, DD and Fe, have all introduced new mechanics that, even if your game doesn't center around them, are a constant thing to attend to. The idea here is to create a race that is instead a combination of familiar elements, but hopefully put in a configuration that hasn't been seen before. At the same time, it will have some passive advantages and disadvantages that hopefully will make it more than just a new combination of aptitudes.

HP, EV, MP and Stealth

Imps should have the same HP as spriggans, or even a little less. Their EV should be the same, but they should only gain as much stealth as a normal-sized character - stealth just doesn't come naturally to them! MP should be weak - as bad as mountain dwarves.

Stats (before role modifiers)

Str: 5 Int: 3 Dex: 10

They get an increase to dexterity every 5 levels.

Mutations and abilities

  • Your flesh is heat resistant
  • Your flesh is vulnerable to cold
  • You are covered in red scales (AC+2)
  • You have a pair of horns on your head
  • You have long fingernails
  • You have long toenails
  • You can instantly translocate small distances at will
  • You are immune to negative energy
  • You are immune to unholy pain and torment
  • Your natural rate of healing is unusually fast
  • You are little and cannot use many weapons and most armour

And of course, although it isn't listed in the A screen for demonspawn, imps are vulnerable to holy effects and have slight bonuses when using demon weapons. Imps can mutate normally.

The blinking ability: This ability works as follows: it requires no MP, but instead takes 1-4 HP. It can kill you, maybe even without a warning. Furthermore, it cannot be controlled in any way. One can explain this by saying that imp blinking comes from a different type of magic than normal translocations. The gameplay reason, of course, is that an imp that gains access to semi-controlled blink would have an absurdly easy time, although if teleport control is changed to an evokable property this may no longer be true.

This is almost identical to Lugonu's Bend Space ability, just with no MP cost and no ability to affect adjacent monsters. — minmay 2011-07-23 03:37]]
So it is - I didn't realize that ability was also -cTele; I was thinking of the blinking mutation. Perhaps it could have a different cost? On the other hand, I don't think there's any great harm in having two overlapping abilities; it certainly wouldn't be the first. One other possible cost I could think of is slight XP drain (like [XP(next level)-XP(current level)]/200, so it starts off free but gradually costs more). -IonFrigate, 2011-7-23
Or just have it have no costs at all, but a small cooldown, like breath weapons do. — doublep 2012-05-27 13:15
For the off chance that anyone ever actually implements this, I like that suggestion. It should be short, though, like 1d3+1 turns. If that's too powerful it could also cost nutrition (like 50 or so). -IonFrigate

Starting equipment

If an imp would start with a mace, they instead start with a +1 whip (or +2 for those roles that would normally start with a +2 weapon). It's more thematic, and one-handed to them. The enchantment is to balance the fact that a whip is a weaker weapon, although I'm not positive it's necessary. And of course, any armour is replaced with a robe, any shield with a buckler, any helmet with a cap (or nothing).


They shouldn't leave them. A ghost of a demon is a weird thing to swallow, and I think it's a minor but relatively interesting feature to have another species that doesn't leave ghosts.


Fighting +2 Armour -3 Spellcasting -3
Short Blades -3 Dodging +1 Conjurations -2
Long Blades 0 Stealth -1 Hexes -3
Axes -3 Stabbing -2 Charms -4
Maces & Flails +2 Shields -1 Summonings -2
Polearms +2 Traps & Doors 0 Necromancy -1
Staves -2 Translocations -1
Unarmed Combat -1 Transmutation -3
Fire Magic 0
Throwing +3 Ice Magic-4 Invocations +1
Slings +2 Air Magic-2 Evocations +2
Bows +2 Earth Magic-2
Crossbows 0 Poison Magic -2 Experience 150

Comments on aptitudes:

  • Imps are good with weapon types which have demon weapons in them. Flavor-wise, one could say that they are familiar with these weapons from Hell. Gameplay-wise, it creates a strong incentive to use two-handed weapons: otherwise they are stuck with falchions and whips, unless I missed any. Of course, the best weapon for them to use would be a demon whip, but it takes a while to find those usually. They are intentionally bad with short blades to discourage stabbing: this is not meant to be a viable play style with an imp, since spriggans already fill that niche.
  • Imps are meant to be atrocious at magic, almost as bad as trolls. Spriggans usually rely a lot on spells such as Haste, Deflect Missiles, and others. Imps are not meant to do that. They have passable aptitudes for fire magic, but with bad conjurations and worse spellcasting, it'd be difficult to make much of this.
  • Imps are good at ranged combat. How many times have you seen one of those little buggers pick up a bow and arrows off a centaur you just killed, and start pounding you with it? However, since I believe bows are two-handed to a creature of that size (if they're not, they bloody well should be), this presents an interesting choice: use a shield, or use a bow?
  • Their dodging aptitude is good, but not stupendous. This is intentional - it should be difficult to hit them, but not as difficult as felids or spriggans. I think a merely good dodging aptitude is accomplishes this nicely.
  • I'm not sure about the Evo apt. It makes sense, but it overlaps a lot with spriggans. Perhaps it could be lowered.
  • I don't want imps to be incredibly good at UC. There are already enough strong UC races (Gh, Fe, Tr, Vp), and furthermore UC is absurdly overpowered. Personally, I think that UC damage should be less for smaller races - how does a cat do as much damage as a troll, anyway? - but that's a different discussion. For the time being, imps should just have a bad aptitude for it.
  • The aptitudes and abilities of imps are in general quite good. Hence the 150 experience requirement. This may even need to be raised, since they cannot be drained.

Comments on mutations:

  • I wonder about the possibility of having imps' fire resistance grow to rF++ at some point, perhaps around XL10 or so. Given that monster imps are immune to fire, it makes sense from a symmetry standpoint. From a gameplay standpoint, I think one could argue either way. With rF++, imps pretty much only need rC++, rElec and rMut to have a perfectly passable set of resistances for Zot and the extended endgame.
  • rTorm is incredibly powerful, but it is truly difficult to explain why imps wouldn't have it. However, the more I think about this, the more I start think it's not actually that bad. Torment resistance is most powerful in the extended endgame, but next to useless in the early game and only somewhat useful in a normal 3-rune game. No player is going to sit by a lich that's summoning fiends, even if they are torment resistant, because being surrounded by 1's will lead to a quick death even with it. It would make the Hells and Pan easier, no doubt. Perhaps even too easy. But, imps would hardly be the first character type to be very strong in one area and weak in others. Trolls, for example, dominate the early game, but around the mid-game start to die really quickly. Deep elves can become incredibly powerful in the later middle-game but have a lot of trouble early on. Is there anything wrong with having a species that has an easier time in the extended endgame? Especially given that it wouldn't be that easy, given that imps would have atrocious spellcasting aptitudes.
  • I don't honestly know if regeneration 1 is overpowered. I'd think, given imps' piddling HP, that it wouldn't be, but I may be wrong on this. I do believe that it's counterbalanced by the fact that imps have to eat like any other character. Running away repeatedly so you can heal burns a lot of nutrition, nutrition that imps would consume three times as fast as spriggans. Of course, spriggans can't eat meat, but the Hive always contains more food than they could ever eat.
  • Yes, monster imps can fly. I'm not sure if player imps should have this, and their horrible aptitudes for magic would make it an interesting challenge for them to go without it.

Anyway, what are people's thoughts on this? -IonFrigate, July 22, 2011

  • I'd play it :) I think they should be able to fly. Imp priests of demonic gods? — Psiweapon 2012-05-26 22:48
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dcss/brainstorm/species/propose/imp.txt · Last modified: 2012-06-02 06:53 by ion_frigate
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