Ballistomycete Discussion

Ballistomycetes (from now on only called ballistos)

A plant-type monster, being able to spawn giant spores and can be created by giant spores.

The idea is that ballistos can take over a level, turning it into a level-wide challenge (a bit like those open levels with water). The goal is that a single giant spore may achieve this, if left unattended. On the other hand, the ballisto-spore cycle shouldn't get fully out of hand.

  1. Dynamical system:
    • spores can leave ballistos — either randomly as now, but perhaps better: near/over corpses/food/blood? (Don't force players to chop up all corpses!) Or perhaps a ballisto can be generated when a spore explodes on a suitable monster? (A bit like a toadstool, only instant and only from spore kills.)
    • ballistos create spores over time (time off the level should count!) —
    • ballistos die on their own, perhaps once they have spawned enough spores?
  2. Prevent flooding: Some options listed here, I like the last one best.
    • limit of ballistos per level
    • limit spores per ballisto
    • ballistos need to have sufficent distance (e.g. at least one LOS diameter apart)
      • soft limit rather than hard limit. If the spore lands near a ballisto, there's a (1 - x/9) chance of withering, where x is distance the distance from nearest ballisto. — b0rsuk 2009-12-16 08:25
  3. Misc stuff
    • message when a spore spawns out of sight
    • message when killing the last spore/ballisto
    • do we still want food loss from spores?
    • do we still want confusion from spores?
  4. Fedhas: Only after the ballisto mechanics are set, we should turn to interaction with Fedhas followers.
    • Does Fedhas like levels full of ballistos?

—- Current Behavior:

  • Spores produce ballistos when moving once every ~40 moves.
  • Spores produce a random number of ballistos when exploding (an explosion in empty space has an expected value of 2 spores produced).
  • Ballistos start out in an inactive state, inactive ballistos do not produce spores.
  • When a spore explodes a randomly selected ballisto on the level is activated.
  • If a ballisto dies another randomly selected ballisto on the level is activated.
  • When a ballisto is activated a counter on that ballisto is increased by one, after ~500 turns the counter is decreased by one and a spore is produced. If the count reaches zero the ballisto becomes inactive.


Here is a mixture that I like, not sure if it will work:

  • Spores may create ballistos when killing something (so one spore becomes one ballisto). If the spore is killed, no chance for ballisto.
  • A new ballisto can only be created if there is no nearby ballisto.
  • Spores may also create ballistos over/near food and corpses and chunks.
  • Ballistos need some time, after which they will start spawning spores.
  • After having spawned enough spores (e.g. 6+1d4), the ballisto dies.

Alternative system (three-stage)

I have many problems with ballistos as implemented currently. Their growth needs to be limited by something, and in some meaningful way. But they also need to be more interactive: giant spores are too fast to do anything other than throw a stone or two and ballistos don't do anything other than sit there. Thus they aren't much like existing monsters, but more like clouds or doors or other dungeon features. So I propose this three-stage lifecycle:

  • Giant spores spawn in the dungeon as currently.
  • When a giant spore explodes it spawns many scavenger gametes. These are very tiny, very hard to hit, and very fast. They're so small, in fact, that they can just pass through other monsters entirely. They scrabble around the dungeon floor madly, looking for food (floor food, corpses, chunks, and toadstools!) and leaving trails that temporarily recolor the floor with spore residue. They'll avoid areas heavily trafficked by their kind, ideally causing some emergent hunting behavior. When they find food, this changes. They'll latch on to it and reverse direction, heading to the area with the greatest spore concentration. Enough gametes bringing enough food to one area will trigger them to create a ballistomycete. Lots of gametes in one place may exhibit offensive behavior to “generate new food” - or perhaps their spore trails alone can subdue opponents.
  • A ballistomycete is a huge, tough fungus rather than the current pushover. The gametes continue to bring it food - and as it eats more, it gains more max HP. Possibly, it could even grow to become a multiple-tile creature. Not eating often enough and creating giant spores cost it HP. The ballisto does a simple estimate as to which course of action (producing spores, or not producing) would lead to the least bad outcome. Being killed by an adventurer is a bad outcome and it will create spores like mad in that situation. But generally, this means that if left alone it won't create spores at all… but if it knows that its gametes haven't been back in a long time (they're either dead or can't find food), then the ballisto goes on the hunt. This explains why giant spores exist: they only explode to try to kill things, and their noise attracts each other! The resulting gametes then carry the corpse back. And if its death throes of sending out spores don't bring in enough food for it to survive? Well, that's just how you get orphaned spores floating around the dungeon.

More dynamic, sure, but more importantly it's more interactive. It's not something that happens to your character, but something that your character participates in. He has real choices beyond “kill all the ballistos” and “abandon the dungeon level”, as presently.

What about closing doors ? — b0rsuk 2009-12-16 08:22

Also, it could make spores more interesting if (like real spores) spores, they can either be active (as currently), or dormant (totally inert, but very resistant to damage). They could switch between the two every once in a while until they explode.

I also think it might be interesting if confusion were removed from giant spores, but there were several varieties of them with differing effects. Perhaps ballistomycetes could be joined by hallucinomycetes, necromycetes, or others. The type you get from the above lifecycle could depend on the type of food that was available. — Eronarn 2009-11-26 08:02

What I would like to see is (a) no ballisots are active until/unless a ballistomycete is killed; (b) ballistos can spread slowly, even without producing giant spores; and © ballistos are activated only when a ballisto is killed (but rather than one anywhere on the level, could be a chance of several, but only within a certain range), i.e. a spore explosion does *not* activate a ballisto. In other words, ballistomycetes slowly spread across a level; if you do not kill any of them, you are in no danger from them, but once you do kill one, you need to kill all of them (or all in the vicinity) quickly, or you will have a problem with giant spores. If you refrain from killing any ballisots once spores start coming, the spores will eventually stop on their own. (Think of giant spores as ballistos' defense mechanism, rather than their reproduction mechanism – presumably they have normal tiny spores to reproduce with.)

The point of this is to create more interesting choices for the player. Right now, your options are kill them all, or leave the level; in my version, you could also leave them alone safely. Of course, that might be a problem if they were blocking something you wanted to get to, or if a hostile creature ended up on the other side of one and started attacking it. — Lemuel 2010-01-25 17:59

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