Sangband Manifesto

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camlost

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Jun 1, 2007, 4:31:37 PM6/1/07
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(also posted on the Forum)

This message is intended to describe changes that I think need to be
made to improve Sangband. Now that SAngband1.0.0 Final is out, and
hopefully all the polishing of the interface is done (or mostly), I'd
like to spend some time discussing features and changes to the game and
game balance. Many of these are from my unofficial version of the game,
some are new. Feel free to add your own thoughts and ideas here as
well, or to comment on those of others.

Without further ado, here are the changes that I feel are necessary:
1) Skill Proliferation: As is, it is too cheap to keep a skill above the
minimum cost limit, which leads to people investing in too many skills
(IMO).
2) Shadowstalker: There are currently too many obstacles to playing a
shadowstalker type character, many of which can be fixed, but they
should be done in a balanced fashion.
3) Martial Arts: Currently aren't very competitive compared to very high
end weapons, a little too good in the midgame, and lack flavor
4) Oath Requirements and Restrictions: Aren't completely intuitive yet,
and should all start being available at the same time, IMO.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
1) Skill Proliferation: This is probably the simplest to fix. If you've
looked at the ladder, there are a lot of players and winners who've
invested in 10, 20, or even all the skills they're allowed to do (me
included). This does a couple of things. First, it means that you get
a crappy score. Second, you've now seen everything so there is nothing
much new to the game. Third, it means that you're basically always
behind in ability, and its hard to get experience without infinite
patience. To solve this, we merely need to change one function.

int tmp_pow = MAX(2, (p_ptr->power - 8) * 8 / 10);

This means that the game will pretend that you have a skill equal to
(power - 8) * 8/10. In my mind this is too cheap of a cost, and allows
for increasing a skill from zero (or other small numbers) too easily, or
allows you to maintain too many skills at the minimum level. Thus I
propose the following function:

int tmp_pow = MAX(1, -8 + (p_ptr->power * 8) / 10 +
(p_ptr->power*p_ptr->power)/400);

This is the same, but adds a quadratic term such that at power 100, you
get a final minimum level of 98, which makes investing in new things
rather slower (by around a factor of 4), but doesn't penalize early
investments of skills overly much. I've played with this function
through several winners, and it does help maintain focus with characters.

Alternately, since the experience curve is almost completely exponential
(except at very low and very high skills, it is), a simple offset is
simple enough to use, i.e.
int tmp_pow = MAX(1, p_ptr->power - 10);

Benefits include being easy to compute on the fly in your head, and
fairly straightforward functionality.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
2) Shadowstalkers in Angband sound like fun, at least to me. However,
they have some serious issues if you want to play them.
a) Inability to use scrolls at all, and devices really poorly, and
opening locks/chests
b) Inability to cast spells
c) Nearly impossible to map terrain

In return, they get
a) Less damage from beam/bolt/ball (up to 33%)
b) Some invisibility and stealth and more dodging
c) More (and better) sneak attacks (if oathbound burglar)

Unfortunately, you need to escape to survive in Angband, and penalizing
burglars in the dark doesn't make much sense when we're talking about
thiefly things, and not being able to map terrain is a real pain. Thus,
to make shadowstalkers playable, we need to implement the following:
a) Scrolls that deal with escape, detection, and lightness/darkness call
all be read when no_light() is true.
b) Infravision should map the terrain
c) Lower penalties for devices, opening, disarming

Now, some of these penalties or advantages might only apply to oathbound
characters. I would suggest that the first two should be available
regardless, and the third should be restricted to oathbound characters.

Additionally, it'd be real nice to cast spells while in darkness, heck,
it perhaps should even be preferred by necromancers (and disliked by
priests?). Unfortunately, I think the advantages of shadowstalking have
added up to enough to suggest that allowing this is not a wise course of
action, as with a good infravision score, you'll only miss 1/4 monsters
(cold blooded), though you'll need to use your light to pick up objects.
In that vein, I suggest that if there is only one item you can light
or douse, that it is automatically done, to save a keystroke after every
battle for the shadowstalker.

This opens up to clear routes for a oathbound burglar, a shadowstalker
and a caster, which sounds like reasonable balance to me.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
3) Martial Arts are internally marked as a section for improvement in
the Sangband code, and I agree. The fixed number of blows and lack of
any accompanying flavor text make them pretty bland. That, and I think
wrestling is far better than karate. Both are generally poor in the
very late game, and a little too good in the early and middle game. Add
in the fact that you are not dependent on equipment, and they critical
strangely, and they start to look nothing like the weapons which they
replace.

First, we have to decide what we want the skills to do. I like
associating karate with dexterity entirely and wresting on strength
entirely, and I'd have the skills grant the following:
Karate:
+1 Stealth@50
+1 Dex@30, 60, and 90
+1 Speed@50, 80, and 95
Free Action@75
Resist Confusion@90

Wrestling:
+1 Str@30, 60, and 90
+1 Tunneling@17,50,84 (this is how it is currently...)
+1 HP@ 51-100
Free Action@75
Resist Sound@90

Second, I'd like to:
a) Use the blows table somehow, so that players have the similar/same
choices to make
b) Rely entirely on Dex (Karate) or Str (Wrestling)
c) Wrestling should max out at 4 blows, Karate at 6. Wresting shold do
a little more damage in general, Karate should do more when branded with
scrolls
d) Actually balance this thing at all levels.

A high level character with a big weapon (say, the glaive of pain) can
deal up to 5 blows at 6d8 each, with, say, a +150 to 200% increase in
damage from deadliness (str, gloves, and . Before criticals, this comes
to 405 dpr. If you brand it, you can get another +10 or +14 per blow
for up to 475dpr. Other high end weapons (Aule, Deathwreaker, Ringil,
Zaracuthra, Crisduin, Eonwe, etc.) do similar amounts of damage, at
least when their brands apply. Wrestling does at most 120 twice per
round, however, it only takes experience, not drops to get it, so it
should be a little worse damagewise than a high end weapon. For
wrestling, let's target 320 dpr, or 80 per hit. For Karate, let's
target 300 dpr, or 50 per hit.


To make it work the best, the damage should behave mostly like weapons.
There should be a base damage based on the skill of the wielder,
deadliness should apply (up to 84% from str and +117 with full str and
+12 gloves). This means the target number for damage should be half
that of previously stated for wrestling and karate. Each should
probably be composed of a linear and a quadratic term, and should start
at no less than 2.

Thus we might consider these functions for damage, though perhaps there
is a better one:
Karate = 2 + skill/7 + skill*skill/700
Wrestling =2 + skill/5 + skill*skill/550

Ideally, these numbers would be tweaked (and lowered) for non-Oath of
Iron Characters, but these might be a reasonable baseline, or maybe the
difference in to hit will even that out just fine.


-------------------------------------
4) Oath Requirements and Restrictions

Perhaps I'm the only one who finds it weird that spellcasters get to
take their oaths first, followed by burglars, followed by warriors.
Personally, I'd like all the oaths to be available at the same time,
probably starting around a skill of 20 in any of the appropriate skills
(burglary, melee/ranged, mana/spellcasting/spell failure). As it
stands, warriors get few bonuses over a non Oathed spellcaster, and that
seems funny to me.

Also, I'm not sure I like how the restrictions on oaths are done
currently. Back in the day, Oath of Iron characters had a restriction
on magic devices at 50%. Now, they simply have a 50% penalty to using
that skill. I prefer the latter version. I don't see why spellcasters
don't have similar penalties to weapon (and martial arts!) use in that
fashion. I'd like to see spellcasters get a flat 20 to 40% penalty onto
their melee (and archery?) skill, rather than being capped at an
arbitrary number. Of course, I'm not quite sure what those numbers
should be, and they'll differ between priests and nonpriests.

Finally, I think the 50% penalty to magic devices is a bit extreme. I
think a 1/3 penalty on magic devices should be sufficient to keep
warriors from overusing them, and actually allow them some use with them.

--

There are two other pretty reasonable ways to limit a character's
versatility:
a) Penalize skills by a fixed amount, as in warriors get a -10 penalty
(or whatever) to their device checks
b) Change the costs of a skill post-oath. This is basically similar to
#a (at least with exponential experience costs), but doesn't do funny
things like make you suddenly worse at something after taking an oath,
and means that you can raise everything to the same level with enough
patience (which is probably a bad idea in Sangband, but maybe not). It
will also induce interestingness in the calculation of power afterward
(i.e. the game can think that you suddenly found and got a whole lot of xp)

I'm not sure which of the three options I like the most.


Twisted

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Jun 2, 2007, 12:15:28 AM6/2/07
to
Very interesting.

Reading that gives me a couple ideas.

* Shadowstalkers: provide a way for infravision to act like normal
vision, but limited to the infra range, vis-a-vis reading scrolls and
books, etc.; perhaps the burglary oath can have this effect, but I'd
think it should perhaps be the burglary skill or a related (perhaps
new?) skill. As it is raised, you see terrain for more and more
squares up to infravision distance, and your chances of sensing a cold-
blooded creature within that range go up (also the closer it is).
Right away you should be able to see lava and water with infravision
(perhaps you can already; I've not played Sang...) though; but this
would add walls, doors, rubble, trees, etc. -- Perception should also
affect this, and doubly so when applied to trap finding and the like.
Also as it raised past a threshold you could read in the dark. There'd
be a failure rate for scrolls however, and a raised one for spells.
These would lower (and the device penalties also shrink) as the skill
was raised. At 100, scrolls would be zero fail and the spell and
device penalties would be zero, or at least the device one would be
zero and the spell one significantly lower.
I'd actually make it a new skill, Shadowmastery, and raising it has
slight negative impact on HP and eventually confers inability to
resist light, then resist dark, and perhaps even enhanced
susceptibility to light and to holy orb type damage or spells. It
would also be incompatible with holy alliance (as blood dominion
already is, I'm given to understand). It would join the skill synergy
with burglary, stealth, and the like that I glean hints of from what
sang related materials I've found on the web.
* Wrestling and karate could have more variety in named moves, perhaps
including progressions like O druids have. Karate should get its
deadliness bonuses from dex, and too much weight should severely
penalize it. Armor with -hit should have this malus count triple for
karate users. Karate should grant the ability to get bonus AC by NOT
equipping a shield, and shieldless karate users should get a bonus
whereby some enemy melee attacks backfire and damage the enemy
proportionally to how they would normally damage the player (sans side
effects; they tend to be immune to the side effects they cause anyway,
for examples confusers resist confusion as a rule. Or they do in V,
anyway...) This mimics real karate and similar martial arts, which use
the enemy's strength against them, part of why karate can be powerful
without requiring brute strength on the user's part. The enemy melee
attacks should sometimes backfire on the enemy a) only with no shield
equipped, b) only above some skill level, c) more as that skill rises,
and d) also affected by dodging and, especially, DEX. Wrestling of
course should remain STR-dominated and should gain by character weight
too. Maybe CON and even armor weight might add bonuses. Given that
most wrestling seems to involve slamming one's opponent into various
things, increased weight of the enemy might also make them take more
damage? As for resistance type effects, I see karate granting FA and
rconf, and wrestling stun resistance; karate benefiting from DEX and
to a lesser extent INT/WIS and wrestling STR/CON; and wrestling
particularly granting an HP bonus at high skill. Both should suffer,
and karate suffer more, from darkness, blindness, stun, and perhaps
speed difference (bonus there if in player's favor; karate-induced
slowing not counting, but haste self helping). Reading up I see Sang
skills can grant activatable "spell" capabilities sometimes; karate is
a natural for a haste-self one and wrestling for a boost-str or boost-
HP one.
Regarding making it more like weapon combat, why? Making it more
different and interesting might really be better.
* Oath related stuff I'm not that qualified to comment on. But the
obvious thing to do is penalize some things and entirely halt others
-- I seem to have heard of four spell realm ones matching Oangband's
spell realms, a warrior oath, and a burglary oath. I think the warrior
one and spells are incompatible already. It should penalize devices by
a big amount; I guess I'd agree with it being a percentage weaking, or
perhaps acting like a fixed malus to the skill (you suggested -10?).
Burglary should penalize spell realms and especially the priestly one,
and affect CHR or otherwise affect the shops. The spell oaths should
either heavily penalize or disallow all the other spell realms and the
nonmagical combat arts. I think all these would naturally cascade into
penalizing forging some types of items. Maybe add penalties to thief-
type activity for takers of non-Burglary oaths. (Not to basic stealth
stuff, but to any trap-setting, item-stealing, and back-stabbing type
abilities in Sang, and maybe not for necros, so an O-style assassin
character is possible with blood dominion, burglary oath, or neither
oath.)

magnate

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Jun 4, 2007, 4:27:40 AM6/4/07
to
On Jun 1, 9:31 pm, camlost <joshua.middend...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> 1) Skill Proliferation: This is probably the simplest to fix. If you've
> looked at the ladder, there are a lot of players and winners who've
> invested in 10, 20, or even all the skills they're allowed to do (me
> included). This does a couple of things. First, it means that you get
> a crappy score. Second, you've now seen everything so there is nothing
> much new to the game. Third, it means that you're basically always
> behind in ability, and its hard to get experience without infinite
> patience. To solve this, we merely need to change one function.
>
> int tmp_pow = MAX(2, (p_ptr->power - 8) * 8 / 10);
>
> This means that the game will pretend that you have a skill equal to
> (power - 8) * 8/10. In my mind this is too cheap of a cost, and allows
> for increasing a skill from zero (or other small numbers) too easily, or
> allows you to maintain too many skills at the minimum level. Thus I
> propose the following function:
>
> int tmp_pow = MAX(1, -8 + (p_ptr->power * 8) / 10 +
> (p_ptr->power*p_ptr->power)/400);
>
> This is the same, but adds a quadratic term such that at power 100, you
> get a final minimum level of 98, which makes investing in new things
> rather slower (by around a factor of 4), but doesn't penalize early
> investments of skills overly much. I've played with this function
> through several winners, and it does help maintain focus with characters.

I'll take your word for that ...

> Alternately, since the experience curve is almost completely exponential
> (except at very low and very high skills, it is), a simple offset is
> simple enough to use, i.e.
> int tmp_pow = MAX(1, p_ptr->power - 10);
>
> Benefits include being easy to compute on the fly in your head, and
> fairly straightforward functionality.

... but I'm not sure that altering the cost of skills is the solution
to this problem. I agree that the problem exists, and I personally
find it incredibly hard not to invest points in every available skill
- but here is an alternative solution, among the birth options/
character creation step:

Please select the difficulty of your game:

1. Novice game (20 skills, score x 0.5)
2. Easy game (16 skills, score x 0.75)
3. Normal game (12 skills, normal score)
4. Hard game (8 skills, score x 1.5)
5. Timo game (4 skills, score x 2)

... or something like that. You could even allow exact selection of
the number of skills against a sliding scale of score multiplier. That
way, the number of skills is fixed at birth, and the problem goes
away. You would probably need to include a way of reducing or removing
skills though, in case people made a mistake (but that would be
abusable, so maybe you could just leave it).

> 2) Shadowstalkers in Angband sound like fun, at least to me. However,
> they have some serious issues if you want to play them.
> a) Inability to use scrolls at all, and devices really poorly, and
> opening locks/chests
> b) Inability to cast spells
> c) Nearly impossible to map terrain
>
> In return, they get
> a) Less damage from beam/bolt/ball (up to 33%)
> b) Some invisibility and stealth and more dodging
> c) More (and better) sneak attacks (if oathbound burglar)
>
> Unfortunately, you need to escape to survive in Angband, and penalizing
> burglars in the dark doesn't make much sense when we're talking about
> thiefly things, and not being able to map terrain is a real pain. Thus,
> to make shadowstalkers playable, we need to implement the following:
> a) Scrolls that deal with escape, detection, and lightness/darkness call
> all be read when no_light() is true.

This is inconsistent - IMO shadowstalkers should be able to read ALL
scrolls without light. If you want a sliding scale, compare the level
(depth) of the scroll with the burglary skill (or something) - more
skilled burglars can read more tricky scrolls in the dark.

> b) Infravision should map the terrain

Now this is interesting - does the burglary skill grant any (extra)
infravision? Of not then this kind of rules out human burglars, which
is undesirable. Some consistent implementation is needed where
shadowstalkers develop some kind of pseudo-infravision which maps the
terrain (and reveals monsters). I agree with the principle, I'm just
not convinced that infravision is the right vehicle to do it.

> c) Lower penalties for devices, opening, disarming

Devices should not need any light to use (they're covered in carvings
and runes etc.), so I don't see why there's any penalty at all.
Opening and disarming should more obviously require light - but again
this comes back to the burglary skill - more skilled shadowstalkers
should be able to open/disarm more difficult stuff in the dark. Can
you *set* a trap in the dark, btw? If you can, without penalty, then
the same should apply to disarming ...

> Now, some of these penalties or advantages might only apply to oathbound
> characters. I would suggest that the first two should be available
> regardless, and the third should be restricted to oathbound characters.

The oath should certainly make reading scrolls and opening/disarming
without light much easier. That, along with the cool sneak attacks, is
probably enough.

> Additionally, it'd be real nice to cast spells while in darkness, heck,
> it perhaps should even be preferred by necromancers (and disliked by
> priests?). Unfortunately, I think the advantages of shadowstalking have
> added up to enough to suggest that allowing this is not a wise course of
> action, as with a good infravision score, you'll only miss 1/4 monsters
> (cold blooded), though you'll need to use your light to pick up objects.

Shadow-casters are a potentially interesting case - they should be
able to cast spells in the dark, but then *unable* to cast spells in
the light - you can't have it both ways.

> In that vein, I suggest that if there is only one item you can light
> or douse, that it is automatically done, to save a keystroke after every
> battle for the shadowstalker.

A true shadow character (caster or not) shouldn't need any light at
all. The issue is how to deal with the early levels when the burglary
skill is low and the character is not fully attuned to operating in
darkness. (Actually this *isn't* an issue for spells, necessarily -
you could just say that necromancy spells require darkness just as
other spells require light - but then you screw up non-burglar
necros ...)

Intelligent dousing is one possibility: check for lit status every
time a command requiring light is given (read scroll, disarm, cast
spell etc.) and automatically un-douse light source if it's doused,
and douse it again after executing the command.

It feels klunky though. Instinctively I would prefer a fuller
implementation of operating in darkness. Maybe the Unlight specialty
in O gives us a clue, which would help with the 'early levels' problem
above (and the non-burglar necro problem): at a burglary skill of
(say) 50, you gain the Unlight talent - the ability to work at full
effectiveness in total darkness (i.e. attack, disarm, cast, use
devices, read scrolls etc.). This talent is like a shapechange: you
can choose when to activate and deactivate it. Once activated, you
receive penalties operating in light as you would normally do in the
dark - a simple reversal of your preferred working environment.

> 3) Martial Arts are internally marked as a section for improvement in
> the Sangband code, and I agree. The fixed number of blows and lack of
> any accompanying flavor text make them pretty bland. That, and I think
> wrestling is far better than karate. Both are generally poor in the
> very late game, and a little too good in the early and middle game. Add
> in the fact that you are not dependent on equipment, and they critical
> strangely, and they start to look nothing like the weapons which they
> replace.
>
> First, we have to decide what we want the skills to do. I like
> associating karate with dexterity entirely and wresting on strength
> entirely, and I'd have the skills grant the following:
> Karate:
> +1 Stealth@50
> +1 Dex@30, 60, and 90
> +1 Speed@50, 80, and 95
> Free Action@75
> Resist Confusion@90
>
> Wrestling:
> +1 Str@30, 60, and 90
> +1 Tunneling@17,50,84 (this is how it is currently...)
> +1 HP@ 51-100
> Free Action@75
> Resist Sound@90

These are not markedly different from what already exists, though I
grant that you introduce greater distinction between the two martial
arts.

> Second, I'd like to:
> a) Use the blows table somehow, so that players have the similar/same
> choices to make
> b) Rely entirely on Dex (Karate) or Str (Wrestling)
> c) Wrestling should max out at 4 blows, Karate at 6. Wresting shold do
> a little more damage in general, Karate should do more when branded with
> scrolls
> d) Actually balance this thing at all levels.

I think you're right that the restriction to two blows is a large part
of the problem with martial arts - it means the damage output has to
be adjusted because no extra blows can be forthcoming.

Without going into the maths, I should like to see martial arts
affected more by equipment. As you say, deadliness bonuses should
apply - IMO so should extra blows, and skill bonuses. That way martial
arts can be balanced more like weapons (and it feels more in keeping
with how everything else is affected by magic).

> 4) Oath Requirements and Restrictions
>
> Perhaps I'm the only one who finds it weird that spellcasters get to
> take their oaths first, followed by burglars, followed by warriors.
> Personally, I'd like all the oaths to be available at the same time,
> probably starting around a skill of 20 in any of the appropriate skills
> (burglary, melee/ranged, mana/spellcasting/spell failure). As it
> stands, warriors get few bonuses over a non Oathed spellcaster, and that
> seems funny to me.

I agree. All oaths should be available at the same time (skill level
25 or thereabouts).

> Also, I'm not sure I like how the restrictions on oaths are done
> currently. Back in the day, Oath of Iron characters had a restriction
> on magic devices at 50%. Now, they simply have a 50% penalty to using
> that skill. I prefer the latter version. I don't see why spellcasters
> don't have similar penalties to weapon (and martial arts!) use in that
> fashion. I'd like to see spellcasters get a flat 20 to 40% penalty onto
> their melee (and archery?) skill, rather than being capped at an
> arbitrary number. Of course, I'm not quite sure what those numbers
> should be, and they'll differ between priests and nonpriests.
>
> Finally, I think the 50% penalty to magic devices is a bit extreme. I
> think a 1/3 penalty on magic devices should be sufficient to keep
> warriors from overusing them, and actually allow them some use with them.

> There are two other pretty reasonable ways to limit a character's


> versatility:
> a) Penalize skills by a fixed amount, as in warriors get a -10 penalty
> (or whatever) to their device checks

I agree with this. Hard limits mess up skill/power progression too - I
think the flat penalty is better (though it should be a percentage, so
that low level characters don't have zero effective skill until the
reach a certain level).

> b) Change the costs of a skill post-oath.

Ooh no, don't do that. Stick with percentage modifiers - for example,
take swordsmanship:

A character with no oath attacks with 80% of the skill level shown
A character with the Oath of Thieves attacks with 90% (or 70%, or
whatever)
A character with the Oath of Iron attacks with 100%
A character with the Oath of Piety attacks with 50%
A character with any of the other magic oaths attacks with 70%

... you could perform similar modifications to devices, archery etc.
It already exists for spellcasting (non-oath casters cast with an
effective spell level equal to some fixed percentage of their
spellcasting skill).

Sorry this is not as full a contribution as I'd hoped (RL to blame) -
I hope to revisit this thread in the future (on the forum, even). My
pet peeves are:

1. Slingers should get the Oath of Iron at the same time as anyone
else takes an oath
2. Throwing is not viable as a primary combat skill - thrown weapons
need to be lighter and come in bigger stacks (and take the same quiver/
backpack space as arrows, not 5x).

More anon,

CC

andrewdoull

unread,
Jun 4, 2007, 5:02:46 AM6/4/07
to
On 2007-06-04 10:27:40, magnate <chr...@dbass.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> 2. Throwing is not viable as a primary combat skill - thrown weapons
> need to be lighter and come in bigger stacks (and take the same quiver/
> backpack space as arrows, not 5x).

There is a very sexy trick throws implementation in Unangband that Mikolaj
Konarski wrote after a suggestion I made.

It allows you to throw your primary weapon at multiple opponents then return it
to your hand, as per Blade. You might want to have a look at it...

Andrew

--
The Roflwtfzomgbbq Quylthulg summons L33t Paladins -more-
http://unangband.berlios.de http://roguelikedeveloper.blogspot.com

Phil Cartwright

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Jun 4, 2007, 9:17:50 AM6/4/07
to
magnate wrote:
> Please select the difficulty of your game:
>
> 1. Novice game (20 skills, score x 0.5)
> 2. Easy game (16 skills, score x 0.75)
> 3. Normal game (12 skills, normal score)
> 4. Hard game (8 skills, score x 1.5)
> 5. Timo game (4 skills, score x 2)

This looks interesting ("Timo game?")

That necro of mine has actually got 12 nonzero skills, but is only
really using 10. I have a point in Clubbing that apparently got there by
accident, and about three in Throwing, as oil flasks were my main
defense and an important offense until I could perform reasonably with
karate and Magic Bolt. I guess I'm playing a "normal game" then...

[trim lots]

Much of this is interesting. So are Twisted's suggestions, though no-one
has responded to them that I can see. Vulnerability to light as a
tradeoff was one of his suggestions for getting full ability to act in
darkness. Seemed to make sense.

Some specific points below.

> (Actually this *isn't* an issue for spells, necessarily -
> you could just say that necromancy spells require darkness just as
> other spells require light - but then you screw up non-burglar
> necros ...)

Including mine. Nil in burglary, though I've got dodging, stealth,
perception now all at 26%.

> Without going into the maths, I should like to see martial arts
> affected more by equipment. As you say, deadliness bonuses should
> apply - IMO so should extra blows, and skill bonuses. That way martial
> arts can be balanced more like weapons (and it feels more in keeping
> with how everything else is affected by magic).

Here's an idea you, camlost, and twisted all seemed to overlook: martial
arts weapons for the a slot. These would leave you with barehanded
attacks, but enhance them. I haven't seen any in the game yet, and don't
suppose there are any, but ... brass knuckles? Even nunchucks? Other things?

At least let rings apply skill and deadliness. I know I wouldn't like
getting the sharp edges of the faceted jewel on a Ring of Damage (+15)
jammed into the side of my face by a mighty left hook.

> I agree. All oaths should be available at the same time (skill level
> 25 or thereabouts).

Around when I took black mystery. You were right about it being already
available but hard to find; it was rather subtle. "*) Black Mystery"
appeared in a normally-empty part of the skill screen, only when the
currently selected skill was Blood Dominion.

> Ooh no, don't do that. Stick with percentage modifiers - for example,
> take swordsmanship:
>
> A character with no oath attacks with 80% of the skill level shown
> A character with the Oath of Thieves attacks with 90% (or 70%, or
> whatever)
> A character with the Oath of Iron attacks with 100%
> A character with the Oath of Piety attacks with 50%
> A character with any of the other magic oaths attacks with 70%

This type of thing makes sense too. In this specific case, the Piety one
being lowest fits with the edged-weapon thing in other angbands and D&D.
You could go further though -- for example, racial modifiers. Trolls use
clubs and maces and hurl boulders. Elves collapse under their weight,
and do better with short thrusting weapons like short swords and
daggers, light throwing weapons, and the like. Give each a preferred
weapon weight (especially applying to throwing, and STR-dependent) and
skill penalties as above as appropriate.

> It already exists for spellcasting (non-oath casters cast with an
> effective spell level equal to some fixed percentage of their
> spellcasting skill).

As I understand it, even with the oath my necro can use sorcery or
nature magic.

It seems to make sense that if casting oaths don't completely preclude
all the other spell realms, they at least cause additional penalties to
these.

Nature lore: 100% for Nature oath users, 70% for oathless and Burglary
oath, 50% for piety or sorcery oaths, 30% for Black Mystery, 0% (as I
understand it already the case) for Oath of Iron.

Spellcasting and magic power: 100% for anyone with any casting oath,
lower for no oath or burglary oath, and zero for Oath of Iron.

> 2. Throwing is not viable as a primary combat skill - thrown weapons
> need to be lighter and come in bigger stacks (and take the same quiver/
> backpack space as arrows, not 5x).

It would be silly if boulders didn't take up more space than arrows. A
gradation based on weight (as a proxy for size) makes sense. At certain
weight breakpoints, the number of quiver spaces taken up grows, and the
number carried in one stack drops. 99 arrows or throwing knives in one
space; 49 throwing spears in two; 9 boulders in five; that sort of thing.

--
There's only four things you can be certain of: taxes, change, spam, and
death.

camlost

unread,
Jun 4, 2007, 9:43:47 AM6/4/07
to
magnate wrote:
> .... but I'm not sure that altering the cost of skills is the solution

> to this problem. I agree that the problem exists, and I personally
> find it incredibly hard not to invest points in every available skill
> - but here is an alternative solution, among the birth options/
> character creation step:
>
> Please select the difficulty of your game:
>
> 1. Novice game (20 skills, score x 0.5)
> 2. Easy game (16 skills, score x 0.75)
> 3. Normal game (12 skills, normal score)
> 4. Hard game (8 skills, score x 1.5)
> 5. Timo game (4 skills, score x 2)

Are you referring to a number of skills, or skill-equivalents, or what?
The current game is written for 6 skills (60 points of skills), as in
you'll have the equivalent of 6 skills at skill=your power. Since XP
gain is exponential, you can substitute several skills at a lower level
for one at a higher. To make a game easier, you would increase that 6
to a 7, letting you level at the same rate, but buy more skills for it.
I don't think Leon is going to change this anytime soon, though. Of
course, he could put it in as a birth beginner option.

> This is inconsistent - IMO shadowstalkers should be able to read ALL
> scrolls without light. If you want a sliding scale, compare the level
> (depth) of the scroll with the burglary skill (or something) - more
> skilled burglars can read more tricky scrolls in the dark.
>
>> b) Infravision should map the terrain
>
> Now this is interesting - does the burglary skill grant any (extra)
> infravision? Of not then this kind of rules out human burglars, which
> is undesirable. Some consistent implementation is needed where
> shadowstalkers develop some kind of pseudo-infravision which maps the
> terrain (and reveals monsters). I agree with the principle, I'm just
> not convinced that infravision is the right vehicle to do it.

I'd be fine with an infravision equivalent. I've been assuming that
human burglars would wear amulets of infravision (which can have a large
bonus, and show up early), or that perception would grant some amount of
infravision.

Yes, this part isn't a large departure from the current system. Also,
I'd like players to keep the resistances they obtain instead of having
them go away if they wield a weapon.


>> There are two other pretty reasonable ways to limit a character's
>> versatility:
>> a) Penalize skills by a fixed amount, as in warriors get a -10 penalty
>> (or whatever) to their device checks
>
> I agree with this. Hard limits mess up skill/power progression too - I
> think the flat penalty is better (though it should be a percentage, so
> that low level characters don't have zero effective skill until the
> reach a certain level).
>

You can smooth things out in the beginning by making it a percentage up
to a maximum, then making it fixed.

>> b) Change the costs of a skill post-oath.
>
> Ooh no, don't do that. Stick with percentage modifiers - for example,
> take swordsmanship:
>
> A character with no oath attacks with 80% of the skill level shown
> A character with the Oath of Thieves attacks with 90% (or 70%, or
> whatever)
> A character with the Oath of Iron attacks with 100%
> A character with the Oath of Piety attacks with 50%
> A character with any of the other magic oaths attacks with 70%
>

> .... you could perform similar modifications to devices, archery etc.


> It already exists for spellcasting (non-oath casters cast with an
> effective spell level equal to some fixed percentage of their
> spellcasting skill).

Like I said, the reason to do this is that taking an oath then does
something discontinuous to your ability in skills, but I guess they do
that anyway...


> 1. Slingers should get the Oath of Iron at the same time as anyone
> else takes an oath

I think that in terms of XP expended, they're supposed to be similar.

> 2. Throwing is not viable as a primary combat skill - thrown weapons
> need to be lighter and come in bigger stacks (and take the same quiver/
> backpack space as arrows, not 5x).

I think damage for throwing weapons is supposed to be higher.

Thanks for all your suggestions,
Joshua

camlost

unread,
Jun 4, 2007, 9:56:26 AM6/4/07
to
Phil Cartwright wrote:
>> Without going into the maths, I should like to see martial arts
>> affected more by equipment. As you say, deadliness bonuses should
>> apply - IMO so should extra blows, and skill bonuses. That way martial
>> arts can be balanced more like weapons (and it feels more in keeping
>> with how everything else is affected by magic).
>
> Here's an idea you, camlost, and twisted all seemed to overlook: martial
> arts weapons for the a slot. These would leave you with barehanded
> attacks, but enhance them. I haven't seen any in the game yet, and don't
> suppose there are any, but ... brass knuckles? Even nunchucks? Other
> things?

Not overlooked, just not mentioned. To balance them properly, then
you'd have to assume that the player is using such an item, which
basically means that they're simply weapon skills with the added benefit
that you can use them without a weapon badly, and all in all, they
become boring.

>
> At least let rings apply skill and deadliness. I know I wouldn't like
> getting the sharp edges of the faceted jewel on a Ring of Damage (+15)
> jammed into the side of my face by a mighty left hook.
>

Yes, this is what I said:
There should be a base damage based on the skill of the wielder,
deadliness should apply (up to 84% from str and +117 with full str and
+12 gloves).

I'm pretty sure skill bonuses already work, but in the current
implementation deadliness doesn't matter, and I think it should.

>> Ooh no, don't do that. Stick with percentage modifiers - for example,
>> take swordsmanship:
>>
>> A character with no oath attacks with 80% of the skill level shown
>> A character with the Oath of Thieves attacks with 90% (or 70%, or
>> whatever)
>> A character with the Oath of Iron attacks with 100%
>> A character with the Oath of Piety attacks with 50%
>> A character with any of the other magic oaths attacks with 70%
>
> This type of thing makes sense too. In this specific case, the Piety one
> being lowest fits with the edged-weapon thing in other angbands and D&D.
> You could go further though -- for example, racial modifiers. Trolls use
> clubs and maces and hurl boulders. Elves collapse under their weight,
> and do better with short thrusting weapons like short swords and
> daggers, light throwing weapons, and the like. Give each a preferred
> weapon weight (especially applying to throwing, and STR-dependent) and
> skill penalties as above as appropriate.

Weapon weight currently negatively affects your skill with weapons in a
oath dependent manner.

>
>> It already exists for spellcasting (non-oath casters cast with an
>> effective spell level equal to some fixed percentage of their
>> spellcasting skill).
>
> As I understand it, even with the oath my necro can use sorcery or
> nature magic.

Incorrect. Spellcasting increases your ability to use magic in
necromancy only (for you). Blood Dominion will only decrease your fail
rates (and grant one talent). The others (wizardry and nature lore)
will only give you their respective talents.

>
> Spellcasting and magic power: 100% for anyone with any casting oath,
> lower for no oath or burglary oath, and zero for Oath of Iron.

Non oathbound spellcasters cast at 75% potency (which determines damage
dealt, for instance) of oathbound casters.

>
>> 2. Throwing is not viable as a primary combat skill - thrown weapons
>> need to be lighter and come in bigger stacks (and take the same quiver/
>> backpack space as arrows, not 5x).
>
> It would be silly if boulders didn't take up more space than arrows. A
> gradation based on weight (as a proxy for size) makes sense. At certain
> weight breakpoints, the number of quiver spaces taken up grows, and the
> number carried in one stack drops. 99 arrows or throwing knives in one
> space; 49 throwing spears in two; 9 boulders in five; that sort of thing.
>

Boulders have to be carried in the inventory, not the quiver. Inventory
in Angband is a nearly complete abstraction. You can stack 99*25 suits
of mail, but not carry 30 distinct types of mushroom. Unfortunately,
there are no really good and nice ways to implement an expanded
inventory, at least that I'm aware of.

Joshua

camlost

unread,
Jun 4, 2007, 10:31:00 AM6/4/07
to
Twisted wrote:
> Very interesting.
>
> Reading that gives me a couple ideas.
>
> * Shadowstalkers: provide a way for infravision to act like normal
> vision, but limited to the infra range, vis-a-vis reading scrolls and
> books, etc.; perhaps the burglary oath can have this effect, but I'd
> think it should perhaps be the burglary skill or a related (perhaps
> new?) skill.

Perception would be the skill that makes sense to me. I also approve of
perception granting some infravision.

> As it is raised, you see terrain for more and more
> squares up to infravision distance, and your chances of sensing a cold-
> blooded creature within that range go up (also the closer it is).

Perception lets you sense nearby creatures in Sangband, even if you
normally can't (invisible, in darkness; via sound, or whatever). They
show up as white '*'.

> Right away you should be able to see lava and water with infravision
> (perhaps you can already; I've not played Sang...) though; but this
> would add walls, doors, rubble, trees, etc. -- Perception should also
> affect this, and doubly so when applied to trap finding and the like.
> Also as it raised past a threshold you could read in the dark. There'd
> be a failure rate for scrolls however, and a raised one for spells.
> These would lower (and the device penalties also shrink) as the skill
> was raised. At 100, scrolls would be zero fail and the spell and
> device penalties would be zero, or at least the device one would be
> zero and the spell one significantly lower.

I would think that the best way to implement scroll failure would be to
look at the difference in some skill (perception?) and the level of the
scroll like you would use and determine a fail rate that way. Not sure
I like scroll fail rates, but it certainly might work.

> I'd actually make it a new skill, Shadowmastery, and raising it has
> slight negative impact on HP and eventually confers inability to
> resist light, then resist dark, and perhaps even enhanced
> susceptibility to light and to holy orb type damage or spells. It
> would also be incompatible with holy alliance (as blood dominion
> already is, I'm given to understand). It would join the skill synergy
> with burglary, stealth, and the like that I glean hints of from what
> sang related materials I've found on the web.

I don't think we need to add another skill. Better perhaps to add
another Oath in my book, and I don't really think that's necessary.

> * Wrestling and karate could have more variety in named moves, perhaps
> including progressions like O druids have. Karate should get its
> deadliness bonuses from dex, and too much weight should severely
> penalize it. Armor with -hit should have this malus count triple for
> karate users. Karate should grant the ability to get bonus AC by NOT
> equipping a shield, and shieldless karate users should get a bonus
> whereby some enemy melee attacks backfire and damage the enemy
> proportionally to how they would normally damage the player (sans side
> effects; they tend to be immune to the side effects they cause anyway,
> for examples confusers resist confusion as a rule. Or they do in V,
> anyway...) This mimics real karate and similar martial arts, which use
> the enemy's strength against them, part of why karate can be powerful
> without requiring brute strength on the user's part. The enemy melee
> attacks should sometimes backfire on the enemy a) only with no shield
> equipped, b) only above some skill level, c) more as that skill rises,
> and d) also affected by dodging and, especially, DEX.

This is certainly more radical than what I was suggesting. It would
certainly set karate apart from the regular weapons. Of course, it
would also make it harder to balance. Currently, karate gives chances
to slow, confuse, and stun opponents with their attacks.

> Wrestling of
> course should remain STR-dominated and should gain by character weight
> too. Maybe CON and even armor weight might add bonuses. Given that
> most wrestling seems to involve slamming one's opponent into various
> things, increased weight of the enemy might also make them take more
> damage? As for resistance type effects, I see karate granting FA and
> rconf, and wrestling stun resistance; karate benefiting from DEX and
> to a lesser extent INT/WIS and wrestling STR/CON; and wrestling
> particularly granting an HP bonus at high skill. Both should suffer,
> and karate suffer more, from darkness, blindness, stun, and perhaps
> speed difference (bonus there if in player's favor; karate-induced
> slowing not counting, but haste self helping).

I think both wrestling and karate increase your stun resistance. Most
monsters don't have weights, and can you see a hobbit wrestler throwing
dragons around?

Wrestling can rob monsters of some energy, just like polearms (which
critical) do in Sangband.

> Reading up I see Sang
> skills can grant activatable "spell" capabilities sometimes; karate is
> a natural for a haste-self one and wrestling for a boost-str or boost-
> HP one.

Only Oath of Iron characters get the martial arts talents; Karate gets a
trance where they reduce all damage by 1/3, and wrestling gets stone
skin and berserk.

> Regarding making it more like weapon combat, why? Making it more
> different and interesting might really be better.

In my experience, it's a lot better in the midgame and early game, and
worse in the lategame. That doesn't feel like a wellbalanced skill to me.

> * Oath related stuff I'm not that qualified to comment on. But the
> obvious thing to do is penalize some things and entirely halt others
> -- I seem to have heard of four spell realm ones matching Oangband's
> spell realms, a warrior oath, and a burglary oath. I think the warrior
> one and spells are incompatible already.

All oaths are incompatible. You can still cast spells without an oath,
or with the burglary oath, but you don't cast as potently.

> It should penalize devices by
> a big amount; I guess I'd agree with it being a percentage weaking, or
> perhaps acting like a fixed malus to the skill (you suggested -10?).

I don't really know the scale of the magical device abilities, so I
wasn't trying to make a specific suggestion.

> Burglary should penalize spell realms and especially the priestly one,
> and affect CHR or otherwise affect the shops.

The burglary oath does negatively affect CHR.

> The spell oaths should
> either heavily penalize or disallow all the other spell realms and the
> nonmagical combat arts.

You can only cast from one spell school ever with a single character,
and swearing a spell oath does hurt your combat ability.

> I think all these would naturally cascade into
> penalizing forging some types of items. Maybe add penalties to thief-
> type activity for takers of non-Burglary oaths. (Not to basic stealth
> stuff, but to any trap-setting, item-stealing, and back-stabbing type
> abilities in Sang, and maybe not for necros, so an O-style assassin
> character is possible with blood dominion, burglary oath, or neither
> oath.)

I think that currently non-oath burglars take a penalty to their skill
at burglary (theft, trapsetting, locking doors).

Joshua

Twisted

unread,
Jun 4, 2007, 4:07:16 PM6/4/07
to
On Jun 4, 10:31 am, camlost <joshua.middend...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> Perception would be the skill that makes sense to me. I also approve of
> perception granting some infravision.

Sure.

> I would think that the best way to implement scroll failure would be to
> look at the difference in some skill (perception?) and the level of the
> scroll like you would use and determine a fail rate that way. Not sure
> I like scroll fail rates, but it certainly might work.

The fail rates would only apply if no_light (but not blind).

> I don't think we need to add another skill. Better perhaps to add
> another Oath in my book, and I don't really think that's necessary.

Another Oath sounds like overkill, and has the issue of being
discontinuous. Tie some of this stuff to perception, and some to
burglary, and some to stealth then. For the nastier (offensive) stuff,
use burglary or even blood dominion. It makes sense to make only the
necro
magic usable in the dark, if any magic will be.

> This is certainly more radical than what I was suggesting. It would
> certainly set karate apart from the regular weapons. Of course, it
> would also make it harder to balance. Currently, karate gives chances
> to slow, confuse, and stun opponents with their attacks.

I thought it might, from experience with O druid barehand attacks.

I also noticed someone posted the suggestion of martial arts specific
weapons like brass knuckles and nunchucks. Those might make it easier
to
balance karate against "classic" melee weapon use. For instance,
karate
users could get resists and the like from their a) slot.

> I think both wrestling and karate increase your stun resistance. Most
> monsters don't have weights, and can you see a hobbit wrestler throwing
> dragons around?

I figured it made sense for wrestling to resist stuns and karate
confusion.
Interesting that Leon half-agrees with me. :) As for monster weight,
the
monster's HP and/or AC and/or strongest melee attack could be used as
a
proxy for weight in some way. Even maybe its level and whether it's a
capital
letter or not. Or of course an added monster "weight" stat might be
put into
the game.

> In my experience, it's a lot better in the midgame and early game, and
> worse in the lategame. That doesn't feel like a wellbalanced skill to me.

Is it too powerful in the early-mid game? Or are melee weapons too
weak? Be
sure it's martial arts that need balancing. I've also seen innumerable
posts
about martial arts and ghosts not mixing well. (I think it was
ghosts.)
Requiring spells, scrolls, or other extra tools warriors have trouble
accessing.

> > * Oath related stuff I'm not that qualified to comment on. But the
> > obvious thing to do is penalize some things and entirely halt others
> > -- I seem to have heard of four spell realm ones matching Oangband's
> > spell realms, a warrior oath, and a burglary oath. I think the warrior
> > one and spells are incompatible already.
>
> All oaths are incompatible. You can still cast spells without an oath,
> or with the burglary oath, but you don't cast as potently.

I figured the oaths were mutually exclusive with *one another*, and I
think
I read that Oath of Iron means no spellcasting, period. Making other
oaths
penalize wrong-realm casting or block it entirely, and affect other
skills,
was what I had in mind. I think the other branch of the thread has
started
going into more detail about similar ideas, though, with percentage
maluses to
various skills dependent on which oath (or none) is taken.


Phil Cartwright

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Jun 4, 2007, 4:55:13 PM6/4/07
to
>> As I understand it, even with the oath my necro can use sorcery or
>> nature magic.
>
> Incorrect. Spellcasting increases your ability to use magic in
> necromancy only (for you). Blood Dominion will only decrease your fail
> rates (and grant one talent). The others (wizardry and nature lore)
> will only give you their respective talents.

Excuse me, there's no need to be blunt and rude here.

I'm just reporting what the skill screen shows, which is that only holy
alliance is off-limits (even after the oath).

Are you saying that oath casters can use talents from other spell realms
(except not both of blood dominion and holy alliance), but spells from
only one? Can non-oath casters use multiple realms (but with the 75%
penalty in all), or still only one for actual casting?

Christophe Cavalaria

unread,
Jun 4, 2007, 5:20:12 PM6/4/07
to
Phil Cartwright wrote:

Putting points in spell skills which aren't your major spellcasting style
will only give you a few spell like talents + the other benefits. It won't
allow you to cast spells from the corresponding books.

camlost

unread,
Jun 4, 2007, 5:30:43 PM6/4/07
to
Phil Cartwright wrote:
> Excuse me, there's no need to be blunt and rude here.

Sorry, I was trying to be clear.

>
> I'm just reporting what the skill screen shows, which is that only holy
> alliance is off-limits (even after the oath).
>

Yes, you can raise those skills, but they do not give the ability to
cast spells. Nor does blood dominion. Blood dominion (for a
necromancer) decreases your fail rates on spells, and eventually gives
you the restore experience talent.

> Are you saying that oath casters can use talents from other spell realms
> (except not both of blood dominion and holy alliance), but spells from
> only one? Can non-oath casters use multiple realms (but with the 75%
> penalty in all), or still only one for actual casting?
>

Yes, you get the talents, and the other abilities of that skill (such as
learning about monster mana, or increased criticals and partial
telepathy against some monster types).

Joshua

Phil Cartwright

unread,
Jun 5, 2007, 1:59:22 AM6/5/07
to
So Sangband doesn't take the "freeform character" thing quite so far as
to enable a multiple-school spellcaster -- not even with penalties
versus a specialist. Hmm.

magnate

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Jun 5, 2007, 10:27:47 AM6/5/07
to
On Jun 5, 6:59 am, Phil Cartwright <pca...@nospam.phony.com> wrote:
> So Sangband doesn't take the "freeform character" thing quite so far as
> to enable a multiple-school spellcaster -- not even with penalties
> versus a specialist. Hmm.

AFAIK this is an artifact of the way *band is designed, rather than a
decision to deny people the ability to cast from multiple realms. But
then I've never played a variant which does allow that, so I wouldn't
know how different the structure needs to be.

CC

magnate

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Jun 5, 2007, 10:34:54 AM6/5/07
to
On Jun 4, 2:43 pm, camlost <joshua.middend...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> magnate wrote:
> > .... but I'm not sure that altering the cost of skills is the solution
> > to this problem. I agree that the problem exists, and I personally
> > find it incredibly hard not to invest points in every available skill
> > - but here is an alternative solution, among the birth options/
> > character creation step:
>
> > Please select the difficulty of your game:
>
> > 1. Novice game (20 skills, score x 0.5)
> > 2. Easy game (16 skills, score x 0.75)
> > 3. Normal game (12 skills, normal score)
> > 4. Hard game (8 skills, score x 1.5)
> > 5. Timo game (4 skills, score x 2)
>
> Are you referring to a number of skills, or skill-equivalents, or what?

The number of different skills you are allowed to raise above zero - a
hard limit.

> The current game is written for 6 skills (60 points of skills), as in

Do you mean 600?

> you'll have the equivalent of 6 skills at skill=your power. Since XP
> gain is exponential, you can substitute several skills at a lower level
> for one at a higher. To make a game easier, you would increase that 6
> to a 7, letting you level at the same rate, but buy more skills for it.

That's a bit more complicated. I just thought that forcing you to
choose at the start of the game how many skills you would have access
to would solve the too-many-skills problem and also act as a
difficulty level. Sure, you level up slower with more skills, but
nobody seems to mind that.

> I don't think Leon is going to change this anytime soon, though. Of
> course, he could put it in as a birth beginner option.

I know from personal experience that Leon considers the game "broken"
if people can learn all available skills. The fact that it requires
more patience to level up with large numbers of skills is obviously
not a sufficient disincentive. A hard limit (whether chosen by the
player or not) is one alternative which solves this problem. There are
of course others.

> > This is inconsistent - IMO shadowstalkers should be able to read ALL
> > scrolls without light. If you want a sliding scale, compare the level
> > (depth) of the scroll with the burglary skill (or something) - more
> > skilled burglars can read more tricky scrolls in the dark.
>
> >> b) Infravision should map the terrain
>
> > Now this is interesting - does the burglary skill grant any (extra)
> > infravision? Of not then this kind of rules out human burglars, which
> > is undesirable. Some consistent implementation is needed where
> > shadowstalkers develop some kind of pseudo-infravision which maps the
> > terrain (and reveals monsters). I agree with the principle, I'm just
> > not convinced that infravision is the right vehicle to do it.
>
> I'd be fine with an infravision equivalent. I've been assuming that
> human burglars would wear amulets of infravision (which can have a large
> bonus, and show up early), or that perception would grant some amount of
> infravision.

I'd go with the latter.

> >> Karate:
> >> +1 Stealth@50
> >> +1 Dex@30, 60, and 90
> >> +1 Speed@50, 80, and 95
> >> Free Action@75
> >> Resist Confusion@90
>
> >> Wrestling:
> >> +1 Str@30, 60, and 90
> >> +1 Tunneling@17,50,84 (this is how it is currently...)
> >> +1 HP@ 51-100
> >> Free Action@75
> >> Resist Sound@90
>
> > These are not markedly different from what already exists, though I
> > grant that you introduce greater distinction between the two martial
> > arts.
>
> Yes, this part isn't a large departure from the current system. Also,
> I'd like players to keep the resistances they obtain instead of having
> them go away if they wield a weapon.

Agreed.

> > 1. Slingers should get the Oath of Iron at the same time as anyone
> > else takes an oath
>
> I think that in terms of XP expended, they're supposed to be similar.

No. There was admittedly a slight advantage when it was 45 in line
with the other weapon skills, but those extra ten skill points cost a
whole lot more (almost doubling the total cost, IIRC).

Given that sling launchers and ammo are generally weaker than other
missile weapons, I didn't see any harm in allowing it to grant the OoI
slightly earlier than other weapon skills ...

CC

camlost

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Jun 5, 2007, 12:10:14 PM6/5/07
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magnate wrote:
> On Jun 4, 2:43 pm, camlost <joshua.middend...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
>> magnate wrote:
>>> .... but I'm not sure that altering the cost of skills is the solution
>>> to this problem. I agree that the problem exists, and I personally
>>> find it incredibly hard not to invest points in every available skill
>>> - but here is an alternative solution, among the birth options/
>>> character creation step:
>>> Please select the difficulty of your game:
>>> 1. Novice game (20 skills, score x 0.5)
>>> 2. Easy game (16 skills, score x 0.75)
>>> 3. Normal game (12 skills, normal score)
>>> 4. Hard game (8 skills, score x 1.5)
>>> 5. Timo game (4 skills, score x 2)
>> Are you referring to a number of skills, or skill-equivalents, or what?
>
> The number of different skills you are allowed to raise above zero - a
> hard limit.
>

A hard limit seems to be against the nature of Sangband. That's why I'm
hoping to introduce a more restrictive function, which would hopefully
reduce the number of skills that you can even try to keep up with. If
it takes 50 hard kills to gain the xp to increase one of your skills
should be sufficient incentive, no? Also, I still maintain that the
game is easier with fewer skills.

>> The current game is written for 6 skills (60 points of skills), as in
>
> Do you mean 600?
>

Yes, I mean 600 (you multiply by the skill cost *and* the racial cost)...

>> I don't think Leon is going to change this anytime soon, though. Of
>> course, he could put it in as a birth beginner option.
>
> I know from personal experience that Leon considers the game "broken"
> if people can learn all available skills. The fact that it requires
> more patience to level up with large numbers of skills is obviously
> not a sufficient disincentive. A hard limit (whether chosen by the
> player or not) is one alternative which solves this problem. There are
> of course others.
>

I think that it is not a sufficient disincentive means that it is
insufficiently harsh.

Joshua

camlost

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Jun 5, 2007, 12:13:31 PM6/5/07
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There is no real reason you couldn't implement a "Mystic" skill in
Sangband, which costs the same as Spellcasting. Then, you could either
take an Oath or invest in "Mystic", which would allow access to a second
set of spellbooks. The trouble is, each school has 7 spellbooks;
carrying all of them would take up over half your slots. Sangband's
spell system is currently designed to not require you to need a second
spell school, unlike TOME or Zangband, which generally assumes you have
two (or more) of them (and Z has 4 books per school, TOME only 1, IIRC).

Joshua

konijn_

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Jun 5, 2007, 2:40:29 PM6/5/07
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Z allows most classes to cast from multiple realms. ( and Heng, Entro,
Hellband )

>
> CC


The Wanderer

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Jun 7, 2007, 7:35:37 AM6/7/07
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konijn_ wrote:

...but unless I'm much mistaken, each character can access only a few
select realms, dependent on class type IIRC and in any case chosen at
creation time.

Annoyance with this limitation is what led me to abandon my initial
attempts. some years ago, at playing Z. (I initially went to attempt to
remove the restriction in the source code, but discovered that the limit
appears to be hardcoded in a way which would require extensive revamping
of the magic system in order to even increase much less eliminate.)

If anything, it's *more* irritating that in Sangband having the skill to
read spellbooks of one realm prevents you from ever acquiring the skill
to read spellbooks of another realm. I could understand or justify
forbidding true multiclassing in spellcasting terms, though I might not
like it, and I can also understand "it would be prohibitively difficult
to code" - but in an allegedly skill-centric system that inability just
does not make sense to me.

--
The Wanderer

Warning: Simply because I argue an issue does not mean I agree with any
side of it.

Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny.

konijn_

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Jun 7, 2007, 8:37:48 AM6/7/07
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On Jun 7, 7:35 am, The Wanderer <inversepara...@comcast.net> wrote:
> konijn_ wrote:
> > On Jun 5, 10:27 am, magnate <chr...@dbass.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
> >> On Jun 5, 6:59 am, Phil Cartwright <pca...@nospam.phony.com> wrote:
>
<SNIP>

> Annoyance with this limitation is what led me to abandon my initial
> attempts. some years ago, at playing Z. (I initially went to attempt to
> remove the restriction in the source code, but discovered that the limit
> appears to be hardcoded in a way which would require extensive revamping
> of the magic system in order to even increase much less eliminate.)

Do you want to 'read' or 'cast' ? At least in Hell and I think in Z
even you can sell any book to a bookshop and peruse it there ( if you
want to find out what cool magic the other spellbooks have ). Changing
realms would be really powerful. Spell schools are designed with trade
offs ( nature magic is hard to start but very powerful at the end ,
death magic is great in the start and in the end but sucks in the
middle, etc. ) If a player could just switch, that could unbalance a
lot, everybody would switch to death after a while for genocide and
mass genocide spells. ( Note that with 2 schools, one has access to 64
spells already )

>
> If anything, it's *more* irritating that in Sangband having the skill to
> read spellbooks of one realm prevents you from ever acquiring the skill
> to read spellbooks of another realm. I could understand or justify

> forbidding true multi-classing in spellcasting terms, though I might not


> like it, and I can also understand "it would be prohibitively difficult
> to code" - but in an allegedly skill-centric system that inability just
> does not make sense to me.

I hear you.

camlost

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Jun 7, 2007, 9:55:49 AM6/7/07
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konijn_ wrote:
> On Jun 7, 7:35 am, The Wanderer <inversepara...@comcast.net> wrote:
>> konijn_ wrote:
>>> On Jun 5, 10:27 am, magnate <chr...@dbass.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>>>> On Jun 5, 6:59 am, Phil Cartwright <pca...@nospam.phony.com> wrote:
> <SNIP>
>
>> Annoyance with this limitation is what led me to abandon my initial
>> attempts. some years ago, at playing Z. (I initially went to attempt to
>> remove the restriction in the source code, but discovered that the limit
>> appears to be hardcoded in a way which would require extensive revamping
>> of the magic system in order to even increase much less eliminate.)
>

I believe in Entro/Heng you can switch (some of?) your choices for spell
schools. Of course, I think you're still only allowed a certain number
of known spells, and a certain number of switches, but I don't know the
exact details.

> Do you want to 'read' or 'cast' ? At least in Hell and I think in Z
> even you can sell any book to a bookshop and peruse it there ( if you
> want to find out what cool magic the other spellbooks have ). Changing
> realms would be really powerful. Spell schools are designed with trade
> offs ( nature magic is hard to start but very powerful at the end ,
> death magic is great in the start and in the end but sucks in the
> middle, etc. ) If a player could just switch, that could unbalance a
> lot, everybody would switch to death after a while for genocide and
> mass genocide spells. ( Note that with 2 schools, one has access to 64
> spells already )
>

Well, genocide is now gone. Druidic and Priestly magic are more about
support than anything else, at least in the early game.

>> If anything, it's *more* irritating that in Sangband having the skill to
>> read spellbooks of one realm prevents you from ever acquiring the skill
>> to read spellbooks of another realm. I could understand or justify
>> forbidding true multi-classing in spellcasting terms, though I might not
>> like it, and I can also understand "it would be prohibitively difficult
>> to code" - but in an allegedly skill-centric system that inability just
>> does not make sense to me.
>
> I hear you.
>

If the spell list were shorter, I could understand wanting two or more
schools, but the lists are pretty long, and the holes they have are
intentional. I certainly understand your argument, but I don't think
that multiple realms improves the game.

Joshua

andrewdoull

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Jun 7, 2007, 10:27:40 AM6/7/07
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On 2007-06-07 15:55:49, camlost <joshua.m...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:

> If the spell list were shorter, I could understand wanting two or more
> schools, but the lists are pretty long, and the holes they have are
> intentional. I certainly understand your argument, but I don't think
> that multiple realms improves the game.

I think it has the potential to, if you adopt a Crawl-like approach to spell
schools e.g. school of fire, school of acid, etc. That way, to get a decent
selection of spells, you'd have to build up your skills in multiple schools.

This also fits in quite well with the structure of monster resists. As monsters
become resistant to more types of attacks, you'd have to invest skill points
into additional schools in order to be able to handle them all.

camlost

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Jun 7, 2007, 11:07:44 AM6/7/07
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andrewdoull wrote:
> On 2007-06-07 15:55:49, camlost <joshua.m...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
>
>> If the spell list were shorter, I could understand wanting two or more
>> schools, but the lists are pretty long, and the holes they have are
>> intentional. I certainly understand your argument, but I don't think
>> that multiple realms improves the game.
>
> I think it has the potential to, if you adopt a Crawl-like approach to spell
> schools e.g. school of fire, school of acid, etc. That way, to get a decent
> selection of spells, you'd have to build up your skills in multiple schools.
>
> This also fits in quite well with the structure of monster resists. As monsters
> become resistant to more types of attacks, you'd have to invest skill points
> into additional schools in order to be able to handle them all.
>
> Andrew
>

Oh, indeed, there are lots of potential uses for it, much like the one
you suggested. I even like spell schools that work like that. But I
was trying to be specific to Sangband.

Joshua

Message has been deleted

andrewdoull

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Jun 7, 2007, 12:32:53 PM6/7/07
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On 2007-06-07 17:34:13, zho...@cat.com wrote:

> On Thu, 7 Jun 2007 14:27:40 +0000 (UTC), andrewdoull
> indirectly manipulated photons emitted by my
> display thusly:
>
> >~I think it has the potential to, if you adopt a Crawl-like approach to spell
> >~schools e.g. school of fire, school of acid, etc. That way, to get a decent
> >~selection of spells, you'd have to build up your skills in multiple schools.
>
> >~This also fits in quite well with the structure of monster resists. As monsters
> >~become resistant to more types of attacks, you'd have to invest skill points
> >~into additional schools in order to be able to handle them all.
>
> >~Andrew
>
> Frazband did something like that, you make your own spell books. I'd
> really like to see Sangband w/fraz magic system.

How did that work? I'm currently in a massive redesign for Unangband spellbooks
btw, so the interest is more than just curiousity.

Twisted

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Jun 7, 2007, 3:56:23 PM6/7/07
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On Jun 7, 9:55 am, camlost <joshua.middend...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> If the spell list were shorter, I could understand wanting two or more
> schools, but the lists are pretty long, and the holes they have are
> intentional. I certainly understand your argument, but I don't think
> that multiple realms improves the game.

What if the following changes were made:
* Any spellcasting Oath precludes using spells in any other realm;
* (possibly) Casting spells from two realms precludes any spellcasting
Oaths (and I think already the Oath of Iron);
* Each extra realm imposes a 25% penalty (relative to no extra reamls,
rather than one fewer) on effective Spellcasting.

The latter effect means if you have 32 points in Spellcasting, and:
* One realm, you effectively have 32 points in Spellcasting and can
cast up to level-32 spells; maximum spell level 100
* Two realms, you effectively have 24 points in Spellcasting and can
cast only up to level-24 spells; maximum spell level 75
* Three realms, you effectively have 16 points in Spellcasting and can
cast only up to level-16 spells; maximum spell level 50
* All four realms, you effectively have 8 points in Spellcasting and
can cast only up to level-8 spells; maximum spell level 25

Note the various penalties. Getting that juicy spell is harder if you
know extra realms; you have to raise Spellcasting much more. You also
foreclose on ever getting the highest-level spells, and a real jack of
all spellcasting trades is certainly master of none, limited to only
the earliest spells in each realm. Loss of the Oath option if it
occurs also means you get the 25% penalty to realm power in all.

Using a spell from a new (second or later) realm for the first time
also may cause forgetting spells. If multi-casting doesn't preclude
Oaths, then taking one of the realm Oaths will cause the spells in all
the others to be forgotten. To be really nasty, the limit on
Spellcasting effectiveness would remain, and you'd never get those
highest-level spells in the realm whose Oath you took anyway.

(A confirmation prompt before the drastic step of using a spell realm
for the first time would make sense.)

Note that the total castable spells is (roughly, modulo the exact
distribution of their various levels, which I don't know):
* One realm: one full realm;
* Two realms: one and one-half;
* Three realms: one and one-half; and
* All realms: one.

(100%; 75 + 75; 50 + 50 + 50; 25 + 25 + 25 + 25)

Inventory is another crippler, particularly for two- and three-realm
casters who will surely have to pick only some books to carry from all
they can cast from. Omnicasters will end up with only the lowest book
or two in each realm, I expect.

If Sang is anything like V, there are low-level spells in the highest
level books, but another possible limitation is to preclude casting
from:
* The deepest book in each realm for two-casters;
* The deepest three for three-casters; and
* All of the dungeon books for omnicasters.

Assuming the same 9-book realms as in V and O, this gives casters:
* One realm: 9 books to use;
* Two realms: 16 books;
* Three realms: 18; and
* All realms: 16.

Obviously some of the books will have no spells low enough level, or
too few to be worth carrying. In particular, an all-realm caster casts
up to level 25. If this is roughly equivalent to spells of level 12-13
in Vanilla, then only the first two town books will be of interest to
the omnicaster, who will therefore only want at most eight, one less
than a present single-realm caster might someday like to carry. Many
of the spells in each book-two will be higher than he can ever cast,
as well, so it's likely he won't care for some of those books,
particularly if the remaining spells are redundant.

Now I'm actually given to understand that two of the spell realm
skills are already fully mutually exclusive, in which case the most
you can ever have is a three-realm caster, with only one of blood
dominion and holy alliance.

If that's the case, then there's only one-casters, two-casters, and
three-casters to consider. Make the penalties then as follows:
* One realm: none, aside from the power at 75% without Oath.
* Two realms: 33%, so max spell level is 67, and maybe lose the
deepest three books.
* Three: 67%, so max spell level is 33, and maybe lose all dungeon
books.

That works out to give a three-caster little use for any but the first
two town books in each realm, with more of the second book usable. Two-
realm casters can cast all but the most powerful spells -- if they
care to carry a dozen or more books around. Most won't. Two-casters
are then partly balanced by the angband inventory limit, as well as by
the penalty to max effective spellcasting skill.

Any comments?

camlost

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Jun 7, 2007, 4:27:40 PM6/7/07
to

My thoughts on the matter would be to add a "Mystic" skill or somesuch,
which governed secondary casting, and you'd choose the school when you
started advancing it. I think two schools is plenty. In this method,
you effectively get a reduction in your spellcasting because you have
two places to put the experience, and this way you can fine tune your
spellcasting independently. One could always put a cap on the secondary
spellcasting skill to prevent you from advancing the second one too much.

I'm not sure that disallowing the high end books from a primary school
is such a good idea, but it might work.

Yes, Necromancy (Blood Dominion) and Prayers (Holy Alliance) are in fact
mutually exclusive already (well, technically, you just can't advance
both holy alliance and blood dominion (which would mean you'd have very
high spell failures with one or the other).

I also would think that multicasting would not mix with an Oath.

Joshua

Twisted wrote:

> [Lots of interesting ideas snipped]
> Any comments?
>
>
>

konijn_

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Jun 7, 2007, 4:56:06 PM6/7/07
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On Jun 7, 3:56 pm, Twisted <twisted...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Jun 7, 9:55 am, camlost <joshua.middend...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
>
> > If the spell list were shorter, I could understand wanting two or more
> > schools, but the lists are pretty long, and the holes they have are
> > intentional. I certainly understand your argument, but I don't think
> > that multiple realms improves the game.
>
<SNIP large text on proposed changes to allow for multi-casters>

>
> Any comments?

Looks nice and reasonable, not sure how it would improve the game
except for strengthening the magic logic of the S Universe.

Still, the idea has merit !

T.

Twisted

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Jun 7, 2007, 9:08:54 PM6/7/07
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On Jun 7, 4:56 pm, konijn_ <kon...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Looks nice and reasonable, not sure how it would improve the game
> except for strengthening the magic logic of the S Universe.

Well, it would add more possible character variations/distinctions...

> Still, the idea has merit !

Thanks.

The Wanderer

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Jun 8, 2007, 7:51:53 AM6/8/07
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konijn_ wrote:

> On Jun 7, 7:35 am, The Wanderer <inversepara...@comcast.net> wrote:

> <SNIP>
>
>> Annoyance with this limitation is what led me to abandon my initial
>> attempts. some years ago, at playing Z. (I initially went to
>> attempt to remove the restriction in the source code, but
>> discovered that the limit appears to be hardcoded in a way which
>> would require extensive revamping of the magic system in order to
>> even increase much less eliminate.)
>
> Do you want to 'read' or 'cast'?

I don't even remember the original source of irritation anymore. In the
case of S, in logical terms reading is what doesn't make sense
(although, given the ability to read the spell, what would prevent you
from casting it?), but casting is probably what I would end up wanting
to be able to do.

> At least in Hell and I think in Z even you can sell any book to a
> bookshop and peruse it there ( if you want to find out what cool
> magic the other spellbooks have ).

IIRC, in S at least you cannot read spellbooks of another realm in a
shop, any more than you can in V.

> Changing realms would be really powerful. Spell schools are designed
> with trade offs ( nature magic is hard to start but very powerful at
> the end , death magic is great in the start and in the end but sucks
> in the middle, etc. ) If a player could just switch, that could
> unbalance a lot, everybody would switch to death after a while for
> genocide and mass genocide spells. ( Note that with 2 schools, one
> has access to 64 spells already )

The thing is, you see, I'm an ultracompletist. I want to cover the
entire available spectrum, in almost any context. (My criteria for a win
in V include killing all uniqes except Morgoth before facing him - with
the possible exception of Smeagol, just for humor's sake. I'm fairly
sure that I would thereafter require myself to exhaust the list of
"found artifacts" before calling it quits.)

When there are hard, uncompromising artificial limits on what is
available, I can in *some* cases accept it and work within it (e.g.
vanilla's Mage-vs.Priest restrictions, or - somewhat more relatedly -
Mage vs. Ranger or Rogue, since that makes less in-game sense); when
there are not (Z), or when those limits do not make internal sense (S -
and probably Z as well), I inevitably chafe at them.

I don't remember the details of how I mentally redesigned the system
when I was paying a lot of attention to S, but I do know that there were
more safeguards against rampant ubermunchkinism than it sounds like
you're seeing.

For one thing, building up skill in multiple magic types would be rather
expensive, and would restrict your options in other respects. For
another thing, taking an Oath to one magic type could easily be
justified as forbidding you to cast other types of magic, though I would
greatly prefer to have it simply apply a sharp penalty. (Then again, I
would prefer to use the latter mechanic even for Holy Alliance vs. Blood
Dominion and their related schools; I worked out two or three detailed
ways it might be done, once.)

...I do have more to say, I think, but it's not coming easily to mind
and I'm going to be running late for work if I don't stop this fairly
quickly.

Message has been deleted

camlost

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Jun 9, 2007, 1:06:38 AM6/9/07
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Twisted wrote:
>> In my experience, it's a lot better in the midgame and early game, and
>> worse in the lategame. That doesn't feel like a wellbalanced skill to me.
>
> Is it too powerful in the early-mid game? Or are melee weapons too
> weak? Be sure it's martial arts that need balancing. I've also seen innumerable
> posts about martial arts and ghosts not mixing well. (I think it was
> ghosts.)

This is an excellent question, and I think the answer is both are
somewhat out of whack. Before statgain, the only thing you can really
look forward to weaponwise is either a branded weapon (a lucky drop from
an orc unique or Wormtongue?), or finding a high dice weapon. Of
course, you can buy a 2d7 sword, or a 2d8 axe, but aside from enchanting
it up, you don't have much to get for it. Until you've hit a serious
amount of statgain, you're probably not getting extra blows (at least
with a weapon worth wielding).

On the other hand, wrestling in the hands of giant, say, cuts through
monsters like butter. It's still pretty decent in the endgame, but not
compared to the high end weapons.

So unless you add in weapon slots for martial artists, I don't think you
can quite balance the skills against one another. Of course, maybe 100%
balance shouldn't be the goal. It'd be nice to come close, though.
Maybe some gloves (or boots?) could provide brands for martial artists?
Or simply activate for them?

For the record, martial artist can't hurt ghosts without a bless effect.
Of course, there are also monsters resist to edged or blunt weapons,
which martial artists ignore.

> Requiring spells, scrolls, or other extra tools warriors have trouble
> accessing.

One reason why nearly all successful characters take the magic device
skill. Which probably also needs to be addressed (beyond making it more
expensive).

Joshua

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