I still think Crawl keeps a toxic community and is boiling itself away in a consensus-less desire to cut down a game some people have played far too much of. I'm not coming back for more work unless development has otherwise essentially completely halted.

I still had old plans and thoughts, though- and since my last absence, basically no changes have bothered with the opposition content of the blasted game. I'm exactly anxious and wound up enough to write up a thought dump of this place I scarred myself on, so.

Index's Revamps



Lair has been incessantly cut in length, as a backwards means of addressing its lack of variety and depth scaling in a branch providing desperately necessary earlygame experience. I argue should follow the same path Depths took, leaning on a large roster of vaults by reliably placing on every floor- guaranteed minivaults on floors 1/3/5 and large vaults (given more depth scaling?) on 2 and 4. Spawn-wise, the filler spawns porcupines and bullfrogs should also diminish slowly over time (through a negative-starting-value SEMI), weight should be lightly redistributed between common melee-only filler and the rarer spawns (also bump bears up a little), and the MONS_NO_MONSTER jump should hit the second-last rather than last level.

Also, there's a fundamental redundancy between death yaks and elephants, not that it's easy to remove or adjust either- not sure if there's anything much to do there. Hippogriffs should use the hellwing swoop feature, as they're some of the plainest spawns and it lets an early monster with no other features introduce blink close (compare to how imps and phantoms establish general blink for later casters without being as large a threat as early orc wizards). Likewise, to give queen ants something to do in those anthill vaults, I'd add acid bites- they correspond with the formic acid set-up with entropy weavers and let the queen have literally anything as support.


Orc lost the floors gimmick with its cut floors and it'd be a hard sell to re-add them. Honestly, I'd rather just cut it down to one floor entirely (letting it be unique in being the only branch besides Temple to do such) and use the branch-specific vaults for a guaranteed serial vault on the floor the entrance spawns in (because post-Lair D lacks for much reliable highlights, and it also lets normal D spawns suppliment the not-enough-for-a-whole-branch orc classes).

Lair Branches

These are mostly fine, though the spawn scaling could be a little harsher and the absence of vault review with my departure has let dust accumulate on many vaults… * Having enough vaults for decorative vaults on every floor, akin to Swamp's levels, would help with the high reduction in layout-types the lair branches have. Snake almost certainly can go do this already. * I'd add a small number of very ugly things of the corresponding colour to the old_school, _fiery, and _icy swamp rune vaults- this connects them a little closer to Swamp's set for the latter and fits fine now that they're dire elephant levels of damage. * In the same vein, I'd have a slim, slim chance for entropy weavers and torpor snails to appear in each of the Spider rune vaults, support units rather necessary for “more spiders” to be more felt.


Again, this is mostly fine, though it'd be purer to trim down some of the earlier weaker spawns (harpies, plain wraiths, wolf spiders, hornets) inherited from the old D spawns range. I'd also be interested in compressing down orc warlord bands to be v:3-4 spawns with less plain orcs and guaranteed classed orcs (without adjusting Roka's band or Orcish Mines bands), but I don't have enough Beogh experience to say if this'd be fine.

Elven Halls

I still think the deep elves classes could be a little purer than before their compression, and some of this was work I was already prepared to do before I left.

  • Mages should focus on a trio of mixed conjuration sets to simplify their sprawling inconsistent current sets (icicle / venom bolt, bolt of magma / lightning bolt, stone arrow / draining bolt; battlesphere, blink), reduce the prominence of summoners being the by-far-most-common floor spawns, and provide a spare magic role for another of the base deep elves.
  • Knights should subsume the old deep elf priest and summoner roles and pick the branch-unique summoning spell back up as deep elf inquisitors, rather than being conjurers + melee versus deep elf mage conjurer + summoners. Haste, Smite, Malign Offering, Summon Vermin and their current not-not-existent melee.
  • Deep elf elementalists have some rather awkward quantities, as outside of anti-luring tactics they can't spawn earth elementals and by approaching in melee as monsters do by default they lose their undodgeable tricks. An elemental ward support spell to allies or a resistances-stripping hex (mostly for other mages) would help provide a secondary role beyond hoping their spell combo ever rolls out correctly (and help balance out how the deep elf high mages are half support versus half offense).
  • Elementals as trash spawns lack much interest due to how weak and melee-focused most of them are, but whatever.

People also used to be unhappy with how much luring the end vault necessitates, but considering how dense and threatening the vaults are this is an inevitable byproduct of their design- it'd take significant nerfs to make more prohibited back-and-forth efforts (like a portal split-off, or more one-way stairs like Tomb) any reasonable, and considering how awkwardly Tomb was handled I'd say this isn't worth the risk.


Originally, I wanted to merge this with Elf as two truncated branches both based on optional rewards. While this didn't follow through (elf + non-elf classes providing a confusing presence, standard crypt spawns being far too harsh to permit early Elf trips), there's still a dire problem of it providing less rewards than Elf while being even later in availability. Barring significant locational changes or a subduction into portal territory, it'd be best to at least guarantee vaults on upper floors in a fashion similar to Elf / Depths. The spawns are all great, their position much less so.


More monster nitpicking, mostly. Branch-wise a second layout would especially help, but there's little to any chance of that happening with the devs left.

  • Golden eyes are weird designs for eyes, with how either they horribly swarm people lacking in MR or just do nothing at all. I think the starcursed mass and dream sheep mechanic could work here too, with HD-based confusion roll + irresistible minor damage based on group-count, and still hold a unique property compared to those two choirs by being much more spatially flighty only to freeze up as they confuse.
  • Shining eyes are somewhat of an issue due to being pure malmutate sources after the resist mutation removal. I'm interested in trying out the convocation-channeling mechanic with Yara's Violent Unravelling on them, to inflict glow and raw damage only when someone with buffs lets them go ahead for several turns. Such stripping of grandeur also seems very appropriate for the Slime Pits. Regardless, I think a guaranteed potion of mutation in the rewards pool might be nice, since they allow gambling to get rid of bad mutations in exchange for new mutations.
  • I'm tempted to removal Eyes of Devastation with such a change above, due to losing their digging capability and being rather bland ranged outside of a pre-Slime vault summoning them.
  • Death oozes are rather lacking compared to the other two top jellies, as rot is ineffectual (and psych-attacking) compared to corrosive shots and high cold damage. Ideally, rot (/ possible statrot) would work like overhauls draining or corrosion in regards to being converted to an experience-based more dramatic effect. Alternatively, a dramatic temporary drop of dexterity or strength akin to flaying would also be a chance to provide a unique effect while those relic mechanics still endure.

I've still got a few ideas for one more monster (morphogenic oozes as weaker spawns with short badform transformation melee, nuclei as other organelles with a LOS-style mr- aura and mutating into the first eye slain near them, primordial blobs that permanently absorb one other eye to gain such powers), but the current above might be enough paired with the uniquely effective form of TRJ. The Branch once more direly lacks scaling but this hardly matters for the loot-less dive anyway.


Mostly fine, though the entry vaults for Depths are awkwardly split between plain decorations and a brief taste of contents- they ought to be weirder and supportive of depth-scaled chances for spawns like the Pan entry vaults, possibly through more vault-mashing like what was done with old Abyssal rune vaults. The mon-pick curation might be cleaner and support more scaling, but this is the one branch that can excuse being filled to the brim with junk.


Comprehensive vault review would help salvage how endlessly exhausting this branch can be, not that many people can be trusted with such.


For a climax emphasizing “weird” contents, the layout is awfully plain- guaranteed decorative vaults would be nice. While some higher vault guarantees would most likely be safe at the current roster threshold after some review, most of them being stair vaults would make this most likely a little more obnoxious than necessary. Draconian scorchers and knights are a bit bland in the set, but the rest of the roster has solidified just fine (though I'd be tempted to just give annihilators or knights fireball and cut scorchers tbh).


As I once asserted before, Hell-Pan Roulette is direly needed to constrain the excesses and overlaps of extended. A shame that fell through- I never quite finished the multiple full-floor vaults the designs required. To summarize it and add to its conceits:

  • Either one of Hell and Pan spawns each game. Extended is long, has a lot of elemental demonic undead overlap, fixed in branches explored, and skill investment / combat approach englaciates.
  • Killing Pan Lords increasing rune floor chance- killing the four fixed lords dramatically increases it.
  • Add a unique, announced demonic rune floor to the rune floor chance list (use the subvaults of layout_pan_divisions to place two of the “guaranteed” vaults)
  • Acquiring Pan runes increases a small number of correspondingly-themed classed demonspawn for each unrand lord vault
  • (Possibly make Pan a finite depth of either 16 or 20 floors and always place stairs in a guaranteed two randlord vaults a floor)
  • Loose layout / monster touch-ups
    • Revamp Sap Magic away from lowered spell-success chance, and make it either multiply the mana costs of spells cast or give multiple auts of silence scaling to spell level like Sifcasting.
    • Guarantee decorative vaults on alternating levels and on the four main rune floors, there's a big set of those
    • Add Hellephants as a very slim pick into the pan floorset chances
    • Cut Holy-Pan for the later Holy Hell.

A fair bit of this has been implemented in the Bosch branch.

  • Shrink hell floor spawns sets, differentiate them harder away from constant derived undead, add OODs
  • Cut Hells to 5 floors each (4 is a currently-modelled minimum and might be fine)
  • Make hell effects pre-warned four turns in advance, use a custom themed list of slightly-more-unique effects instead of re-used spell miscasts, slow down the timer a fair bit to compensated
  • Add a single-encompass-vault-floor Holy Hell, Purgatory, which opens up after the other four hells are breached.
    • Said vaults should have three sub-vault shrines with an alabaster rune and a seraph randomly positioned in one of them. Each shrine still has some angels and daeva, of course.
    • Zin's vaults: cherubim (with guaranteed silver ammo), ophanim (increase speed and give Cleansing Flame), extra enemies over the other two.
    • Ely's vaults: apis (weaken base health a bit, given a Channel Mass Health Ward that boosts allies by 50%, remove Ely's enweakening), pearl dragons.
    • Shining One's vaults: fravashi (angel-likes with summoning deep elf blademasters and spriggan defenders), dharmapala (retheme juggernauts, don't touch their use otherwise).
  • Other adjustments:
    • Give Asmodeus a MR-checking MON_SPELL_INSTANT Weakening Gaze and an AF_VULN brand, he's really bland compared to the other lords at this point. Note that people find the pan lords engaging in their excess compared to most of the hell lords, even if the hells are far more lethal.
    • Dispater also could be refined, though I'm not sure how outside of Dimensional Anchor or AF_CORRODE.
    • Monsters for Gehenna and Tartarus (see further below).
    • Adjust tar_old to be more structurally-resistant to progress and tar_mu to incorporate the maze into the whole level (with open spots) instead of being mostly some separate labyrinth.

Tomb's monster sets are reliant on a defining design of summoning blocker-chaff to hide behind, with a variety of other designs and cryptspawn guests as dilution that are somewhat thoroughly incoherently mashed up. For the former, I'm tempted to throw out the multiple spellsets and reduce summons by replacing Summon Undead with Haunt (which has player-centered limitation instead of los-of-mummies-centered limits). For the latter, I'd re-weigh the per-floor weighting-sets kinda heavily towards plenty of one guest, the main tomb spawn, and 2% chances for the others in sets of:

  • Guardian mummy: skeletal warrior, ushabti, death scarabs, jiangshi
  • Mummy priest: ancient champion, bennu, revenant, lich (with reduced general spawns).

I also think death curses could avoid summon spam and rot, but death curses mostly require ever more resting instead of threatening killing by mummies (short of a very unlucky torment or slow timing) and possibly should be revamped entirely. The branch definitely is a mess between the subvaults, the unique hatches, and the summon+torment spam enemy strategy, and I feel like something has to give.


  • Obviously, completing Gauntlet (needs an update for teleporters, I suppose) and Oubliette (needs more vaults) would be great in providing portals that don't pressure
  • Ossuaries really don't have enough to support a whole portal on them, between early D trash zombies and mummies and trap spam all being weak. I think there's a need to lean on necromantic demons shadow imps and hellwings- as they spawn from necromancy miscasts and later mummies summon them, it's hardly out of place. Making scorpions, simulacra, spectrals, wraiths, and flying skulls all less “one layout only” would also help.
  • Baileys could use a pre-Lair / post-Lair split, to push the elves one later, use higher-strength orcs more readily, and get some better use of the mostly-nonpresent base tengu. A dragon-invaded bailey would also be nice for hide-temptation, though there's plenty of Lair vaults pushing on that as is.
  • Labyrinths need a generator change to be smaller and support building around arbitrary vault placements, but that war is not one I'm interested in bring back up again.
  • Nerf Volcano Salamander equipment, as hasted salamanders are by far the most lethal enemies in the set.
  • Desolation is never going to be branch-ified, which makes the spawns designated for it rather awkward in their highly controlled presence. I think it'd be pernient to provide super-rare uses of the unique monsters on their lonesome to provide more justified presence for the portal and its contents beyond abandoned future plans. Warlocks fit Crypt, Myrmidons and Peacekeepers fit Vaults, and saltlings themselves would hardly look out of place in Abyss? Not, like, a full on dispersal project or anything, as the branch is a solid discrete concept in and of itself outside of cloud performance issues, but a little less split while the branch continues to not exist (Compare: deep elves in V / Depths OODs, cryptspawn in Hells / Tomb).
  • Ziggurat entrances are super plain (just liches and eyes?) for the grand terrors they represent, and I'd like to put together more weird entry vaults for them (some elemental vault with a demon, giant, dragon, and elemental for the four elements is the most obvious one).


Remaining concerns I have left really are just sufficient-set-spawn-size for Snake, Spider, Gehenna, and Tomb (though there's a fair number of redesigns above, admittedly, only one new monster is introduced). Finishing out Desolation would be worthwhile, but feels implausible without fixing that branch's performance issues.

  • Salamander Tyrant: Rune-vault-only spawns for Snake, rare lava spawns for Gehenna. Past-Naga-Warrior melee stats with a Weakening Gaze, to be implausible to melee in the way that ghost moths direly hurt spellcasting and to use one of the least-used statuses in the game much earlier.
  • Elemental Hotspot: Amphibous lava spawns for Gehenna. Slings bolts of fire, explodes with a fireball into two low-health copies of itself and some fire elementals when brought down to half. Gehenna has nothing unique and this helps with the value of rF+ there.
  • Ghoul Gravekeeper: Top-tier undead as rare Tartarus and Tomb spawns. Has ghoul-level bulk and damage, paired with Borgnjor's Vile Clutch to prevent fleeing and support other spawns plus LRD or something.
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user/regret-index.txt · Last modified: 2018-08-03 01:10 by Claws
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