Casting: Borgnjor’s Revivification. Your Trunk Update is healed in an amazingly painful way!

Fellow adventurers, we’re back with another Trunk Update after a long rest in the Tomb; be careful about those one-way hatches! Development has been slower than usual over the months since the 0.20 release, but we’ve built up some nice changes and have settled on the date for the 0.21 Release and TournamentJanuary 5, 2018.

This is longer than our usual 6 month release/tournament cycle, but this date will give developers and tournament organizers alike time to get trunk code and tournament setup in order. We’ll eventually make a follow-up post with more details, but for now please mark your calendars for 8pm UTC Friday January 5 2018 through 8pm UTC Sunday January 21 2018 as the 0.21 tournament. Also, please try out the trunk version on your favorite server to help us find bugs and play-test recent changes.

Speaking of trunk changes, let’s see what Horrible Things the Abyss has to offer! First we cover two features that were in 0.20 trunk but didn’t make that release.

The Gnoll species has a new design we like to call “reverse-skillrobin”:

  • Gnolls always train all skills at once, without any of the usual item/spell restrictions, and can’t select specific skills.
  • They have very high apts: +6 in magic schools, +9 invocations, and +8 for the other schools.
  • They have above-average base stats, two more in each base state compared to humans.
  • They don’t have skill cross-training, nor can they use Ashenzari’s skill transfer.
  • They can worship Trog, who thankfully forgives their training magic, but still doesn’t let them cast or memorize spells.
  • Compared to the last Trunk Update, gnolls no longer have “locked” low stats, they have normal stat choice per 3 XL, they gain one random stat point per 4 XL, and they have normal magic resistance gain per XL.

Gnolls have an easier time early on due to high starting skill levels and better-than-average stats, but only manage to reach about level 7 in all skills at XL 13 and about level 16 in all skills at XL 27. Since you can’t max out a key set of skills like other species, you’d better be ready to use what the dungeon makes available. This design has been in trunk for a couple months now, and has been well-received by both players and D:1 monster gnolls wielding halberds. Aside from possible balance tweaks, expect to see Gnolls in 0.21 in close to their present form.

Next up is the Wu Jian Council god. For a while, we weren’t certain this god would make the cut, but thanks to some recent discussions and patches from SteelNeuron, the original designer and implementer, there’s a new version of the god. This version emphasizes movement-as-combat but hopefully presents better decisions as to when to use those fancy martial attacks. Here’s the current set of abilities:

  • Upon worship, you get the Lunge martial attack. Moving directly towards and adjacent to an enemy triggers an attack that does 20% more damage.
  • At 1* piety, you get the Whirlwind martial attack:
    • This triggers when moving between tiles adjacent to a monster, attacking all adjacent foes for 80% damage.
    • These attacks ‘pin’ any affected monsters, prevent one turn of movement, but allowing monsters to perform other actions.
  • At 2* piety, you get the Wall Jump martial attack:
    •  Moving against solid obstacles triggers a two-turn jump, moving two squares in the opposite direction and attacking any enemies adjacent to the landing site.
    • This number of attacks performed is doubled, in accord with the movement taking two turns.
    • Compared to the last Trunk Update, this ability has lost the monster target requirement and does not distract monsters.
  • At 3* piety, you get the Serpent’s Lash ability:
    • This costs piety and grants two free movement actions.
    • Any movements that are martial attacks will never miss and do 40% more damage.
    • Compared to the last Trunk Update, this ability has reduced piety cost, a reduced exhaustion timeout, and slightly reduced bonus damage (50% -> 40%)
  • At 5* piety, you get the Heavenly Storm ability, which creates opaque clouds and gives an increasing slaying bonus as you use martial attacks. This ability is unchanged from the the last update.

This version of Wu Jian brings the focus back to frequent movement attacks, making them more beneficial and trying to make their effects on monster movement more predictable. Hence the loss of the distraction mechanic and the addition of the pin effect. We’ll be trying out these changes, getting player feedback, and making further adjustments in the weeks to come. The hope is to have Wu Jian ready for 0.21, but as always with trunk features, keep in mind that the god could change significantly between now and release.

Finally, let’s get to the other changes that have landed in trunk:

  • Training targets can be set on the skill screen:
    • Press ‘=’ on, select a skill, and enter a target skill level.
    • Training of that skill is disabled when you reach the target level.
    • You can set a target skill for a weapon’s minimum delay right from the weapon description!
  • Wand charges merge:
    • Wands of the same type merge charges upon pickup and have no cap on charges.
    • Wand charges are identified when the wand type is identified; no more losing charges based on identification.
    • Wands are destroyed when their last charge is used.
  • No more monster spawns over time in most places:
    • Also gone is the super out-of-depth monster timer, which generated very difficult monsters after a long time.
    • The number of monsters created during level generation is slightly increased to compensate.
    • Pandemonium and Abyss still generate spawns as before.
  • Now a fraction of level monsters generate awake, so you can still have that wonderful feeling when a monster wanders over at the most inconvenient time.
  • Ogres have better weapon aptitudes in short blades, long blades, and axes, giving them more weapon choices. Not that they don’t love giant clubs, because they do.
  • Air Elementals  have a new Vortex ability, which is a short-duration, short range Tornado effect. If one of these moves you off of your comfy stairs, remember to say: “Thank you, gammafunk!”
  • Unique Pan Lords now appear more frequently in Pandemonium. It turns out people didn’t like trudging through 27 Pan levels to get all the runes, so we reduced that average number by quite a bit.
  • Rods of Lightning recharge based on XP even when only partially used, and give you a power bonus only for consecutive charges.
  • Fan of Gales now disperses clouds at the players feet.
  • Scrolls of Recharging are no more. The wand charge merging and identification changes give you more charges available in inventory. And let’s be honest, there are a lotta wand charges out there in the dungeon.
  • Wands of Confusion and Lightning are no more. We’ve given the generation weight of these spell-duplicating wands to the more interesting remaining wands of comparable effect.
  • Draconians player tiles now show hats. Has dungeon science gone too far?
  • New vaults in circulation:
    • A crab-themed runed door vault where clawed critters creep in crafty corridors, hoping to catch you in a cloud. The crabs even have friends that try to hit you from afar. Hope you don’t end up as the main course in a crab dinner!
    • A Trog-themed transporter vault that has you shrouded in the field of a silent specter. Imprisoned moths of wrath awaiting you at every turn, hoping to berserk nearby trolls, ogres, and ettins….or even a juggernaut! I hope the loot is worth it…
    • A digging-themed transporter vault where deep troll earth mages or cacodemons wait for you to move close enough so they can dig out hoards of monsters. Use the supplied wand of digging to release smaller groups on your own terms. Dig for victory!
    • A cloud-themed transporter vault where you’re given a potion of resistance to go up against some elemental critters surrounded by clouds. You’d better kill all the things before your resistance wears off, since you have to walk through clouds to reach the exit!
    • A transporter Zot vault containing the legendary Mask of the Dragon. Formerly a runed door vault, now a deadlier transporter vault with moths of wrath ready to berserk a hoard of dragons!
    • A highly randomized concentric ring vault that may contains stairs, loot, traps, and of course some nasty monsters.
    • A “motion control” stair vault that pits you against movement-restricting monsters like manticores, catoblepas, and merfolk avatars, all of which attack you from multiple directions.
    • That one elephant statue in the Lair “Junglebook” ending is diggable. You know, the one near that place that leads to the thing? Yeah, that’s the one (hint: it’s grey).
    • The Chambers of the Cloud Mage WizLab has been reworked. It features the new vortex-enabled air elementals and a host of cloud-spitting crabs, death drakes, and blizzard demons, as well as some shockingly fast snake and insect friends. Loot is updated to include more consumables early on in the map and to give some better-quality finds in the main treasure pile at the end.
    • The Hall of the Hellbinder WizLab has also been reworked. It features a less player-friendly layout with a deadlier assortment of demons, a demonspawn mage, and a Hellbinder with an updated spell set. Loot has been updated to feature some nice consumables as well as a better treasure hoard.
    • The Nemelex gamble transporter vault is now actually a gamble. You were cheating. Oh yeah, we found out.
  • Extra contamination is your reward when un-equiping items currently granting you invisibility. Sorry min-maxers, no more avoiding contam by un-equipping your cloak of invis early.
  • Water species that aren’t merfolk now properly autoexplore and travel through shallow water.
  • Transporters have a ‘landing site’ that indicates their destination. Now you can better determine the location of your future untimely death.

There are more changes to trunk planned before the release, and we’ll be sure to talk about those in a future post. Until then fellow crawlers, as the Wu Jian Council tells you, “Follow the Path!”