VARIANT ANNOUNCE: Sporkhack

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Derek Ray

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Jul 8, 2007, 9:28:25 AM7/8/07
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I've alluded to this in some other postings, but now seems a good time
as any to go ahead and publish this since the June tournament's over and
ideally we'll see a bit more mindshare available to explore among people
who are interested in such things.

I've been working on a fork of 3.4.3 that has a number of
balance-oriented changes, largely to try to address the problems I've
outlined in prior posts as well as just provide a platform for
experimental changes. It's been in test among a small group of players
for about a month now; it seems time to open it up and see what others
think.

In short, one of the purposes of this fork is to try to make the game
more interesting for experienced/skilled players, while making it no
harder (or, in a couple cases, slightly easier) for the newbie. It's
also going to be an attempt to try to increase variety in the standard
'ascension kit', since right now it is pretty well defined.

There is a server available for play at telnet://nethack.nineball.org;
the very rough changelog and description can be seen at
http://nethack.nineball.org. A patch to match the server state will
eventually be published on the website as well, once I confirm that the
patches will properly apply to a vanilla 3.4.3 distribution.

There is a channel #sporkhack on irc.freenode.net where discussions take
place relatively frequently; there is a bot there, much like #nethack's
Rodney, who will announce deaths and ascensions as they occur.

Please keep in mind that these changes should be considered to be alpha-
or beta- level; there may well be bugs, and these bugs may affect your
gameplay. I do try to fix bugs found as rapidly as possible, but I
can't always update the server immediately since I have others' games to
consider as well, especially if I have a patch in the queue that will
break savefile compatibility.

This is a live fork! For the near future, I will still be making a
great deal of changes, and if an imbalance is found with existing
changes, they are not set in stone -- if something is too hard, I will
certainly consider toning it down to a more reasonable level. By the
same token, if something I add makes things too easy, I will probably
tone _that_ down too.

I hope you enjoy it.

--
Derek

insert clever quotation here

John H.

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Jul 8, 2007, 5:00:14 PM7/8/07
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Some interesting ideas here, no time to look them over at the moment
though.

- John H.

On Jul 8, 9:28 am, Derek Ray <moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com> wrote:
> I've alluded to this in some other postings, but now seems a good time
> as any to go ahead and publish this since the June tournament's over and
> ideally we'll see a bit more mindshare available to explore among people
> who are interested in such things.
>
> I've been working on a fork of 3.4.3 that has a number of
> balance-oriented changes, largely to try to address the problems I've
> outlined in prior posts as well as just provide a platform for
> experimental changes. It's been in test among a small group of players
> for about a month now; it seems time to open it up and see what others
> think.
>
> In short, one of the purposes of this fork is to try to make the game
> more interesting for experienced/skilled players, while making it no
> harder (or, in a couple cases, slightly easier) for the newbie. It's
> also going to be an attempt to try to increase variety in the standard
> 'ascension kit', since right now it is pretty well defined.
>
> There is a server available for play at telnet://nethack.nineball.org;

> the very rough changelog and description can be seen athttp://nethack.nineball.org. A patch to match the server state will

Riina

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Jul 8, 2007, 8:07:58 PM7/8/07
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On 8 heinä, 16:28, Derek Ray <moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com> wrote:

> This is a live fork! For the near future, I will still be making a
> great deal of changes, and if an imbalance is found with existing
> changes, they are not set in stone -- if something is too hard, I will
> certainly consider toning it down to a more reasonable level. By the
> same token, if something I add makes things too easy, I will probably
> tone _that_ down too.


I almost died at the castle because liches don't respect Elbereth! >:P
Is it intended that castle can't be reliably done anymore without
magic resistance or genociding liches? If so then that favours
wizards. Not all people are that crazy about them. Nothing more (this
time...). :)

--
*R* shocked and slightly annoyed

Derek Ray

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Jul 8, 2007, 8:58:34 PM7/8/07
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Riina wrote:
> On 8 heinä, 16:28, Derek Ray <moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com> wrote:
>
>> This is a live fork! For the near future, I will still be making a
>> great deal of changes, and if an imbalance is found with existing
>> changes, they are not set in stone -- if something is too hard, I will
>> certainly consider toning it down to a more reasonable level. By the
>> same token, if something I add makes things too easy, I will probably
>> tone _that_ down too.
>
> I almost died at the castle because liches don't respect Elbereth! >:P

They do respect Elbereth; just not 100% of the time anymore.

> Is it intended that castle can't be reliably done anymore without
> magic resistance or genociding liches?

That is not the intent of the change, no. However, you may in the
future need to consider alternative methods of dealing with liches than
simply "engrave Elbereth, stand on the engraving, and melee it to death
from near-complete safety" -- ranged weaponry would be a good idea, for
example. Or you can choose to engrave Elbereth and take whatever
protection you can get from it, as it will certainly be better than nothing.

It's worth noting that neither master liches nor arch-liches will
typically be generated at the castle, unless you've spent a great deal
of time gaining XL well past 14 prior to the castle. Those are the
covetous (read: "teleporting to you") liches, against whom ranged
weapons would be less useful.

Kent Paul Dolan

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Jul 9, 2007, 12:10:02 AM7/9/07
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A good time to fix the "can't use tiles mode when
using a server" problem (and yes, there's an
exception, which even its author admits "sort of
works") would be when forking NetHack and also when
bringing up a new server. Oh, my look what's
happening now!

My "back of an envelope" software design for this
would involve decoupling of the screen painting
interface, which now sends (ANSI-mode colorized)
character codes across the toward-player interface,
to instead send tile map indices across that
interface.

Then there would be needed a small display tool,
built mostly from the existing (now decoupled)
NetHack display code, on the user's end that
packages some flavor of telnet, plus an access hook
to a {possibly player supplied favorite) graphical
tiles map, plus an access hook to a text-imitating
tiles map.

The end result would be that players could chose to
play on your server in tiles mode or in text mode, a
frequent request from tiles mode addicts.

To cater to those who play from machines where they
cannot install software, an "old mode" that still
works with character codes would need to remain.

Quantum valeat.

xanthian.

[Not that you'll read this, but maybe someone out of
kindness will take you on their knee and read it to
you.]


Henry J Cobb

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Jul 9, 2007, 1:58:03 AM7/9/07
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Derek Ray wrote:
> There is a server available for play at telnet://nethack.nineball.org;

I'm attacking with unskilled Sting and I got:

You aren't sure you're doing this the right way...

Is that new?

-HJC

Pasi Kallinen

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Jul 9, 2007, 2:18:29 AM7/9/07
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In rec.games.roguelike.nethack Kent Paul Dolan <xant...@well.com> wrote:
>
> My "back of an envelope" software design for this
> would involve decoupling of the screen painting
> interface, which now sends (ANSI-mode colorized)
> character codes across the toward-player interface,
> to instead send tile map indices across that
> interface.
>
> Then there would be needed a small display tool,
> built mostly from the existing (now decoupled)
> NetHack display code, on the user's end that
> packages some flavor of telnet, plus an access hook
> to a {possibly player supplied favorite) graphical
> tiles map, plus an access hook to a text-imitating
> tiles map.
>
> The end result would be that players could chose to
> play on your server in tiles mode or in text mode, a
> frequent request from tiles mode addicts.
>

Unfortunately this'll prevent watching that particular game
being played (and the ttyrec of it too, unless you pass it
to the display program).

Also, nethack proxy (http://savannah.nongnu.org/projects/nhproxy)
and nethack-el (http://www.nongnu.org/nethack-el/) already do
exactly this sort of thing. (Though I'd argue that emacs isn't
a "small display tool" ;)

--
Pasi Kallinen
pa...@alt.org
http://bilious.homelinux.org/ -- NetHack Patch Database

Henry J Cobb

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Jul 9, 2007, 3:33:20 AM7/9/07
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Derek Ray wrote:
> I hope you enjoy it.

I don't enjoy this bit.

Attempting to pick up gold:

Your knapsack cannot accommodate any more items.

There's always room for gold.

-HJC

Janis

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Jul 9, 2007, 4:27:25 AM7/9/07
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On 9 Jul., 08:18, p...@alt.org (Pasi Kallinen) wrote:

> In rec.games.roguelike.nethack Kent Paul Dolan <xanth...@well.com> wrote:
>
> > My "back of an envelope" software design for this
> > would involve decoupling of the screen painting
> > interface, which now sends (ANSI-mode colorized)
> > character codes across the toward-player interface,
> > to instead send tile map indices across that
> > interface.
>
> > Then there would be needed a small display tool,
> > built mostly from the existing (now decoupled)
> > NetHack display code, on the user's end that
> > packages some flavor of telnet, plus an access hook
> > to a {possibly player supplied favorite) graphical
> > tiles map, plus an access hook to a text-imitating
> > tiles map.
>
> > The end result would be that players could chose to
> > play on your server in tiles mode or in text mode, a
> > frequent request from tiles mode addicts.
>
> Unfortunately this'll prevent watching that particular game
> being played (and the ttyrec of it too, unless you pass it
> to the display program).

Would it be possible to copy/paste text from such a "small GUI
frontend" without problems? (I suppose this would be possible
to facilitate, but very platform dependent?)

Janis, not very happy about *any* _mandatory_ non-text GUI, not
particularly in Nethack but in general, if it would be bulky or
less flexible, and always prefer a simple coupling

Martin Read

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Jul 9, 2007, 4:51:23 AM7/9/07
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Derek Ray <moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com> wrote:
>It's worth noting that neither master liches nor arch-liches will
>typically be generated at the castle, unless you've spent a great deal
>of time gaining XL well past 14 prior to the castle.

It's worth noting that I've more or less never reached the castle later
than XL 16, and I've still had an ML there.

Also, of course, a chameleon or polytrap can produce an arch-lich
*anywhere*.
--
\_\/_/ you take a mortal man and put him in control
\ / and watch him become a god watch people's heads roll
\/ --- Megadeth, "Symphony of Destruction"

Riina

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Jul 9, 2007, 5:10:22 AM7/9/07
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Well, here's what happened. I was (and still am) a level 12 dark
knight. Did sokoban and mines, then headed down to go wish some needed
objects (like magic resistance and a bag of holding). Didn't have
anything to cross Medusa's lake with, so dug past it. Arrived in the
upper part of the maze in front of the castle and immediately an arch-
lich jumped on me. Without magic resistance that was scary and even
scarier it became when I realised that Elbereth isn't going to save
me. The stairs were in the lower part of the maze (the farthest they
could be!). My wand of digging was out of charges.

In Nethack I would have dust-Elberethed my long way to the upstairs
but now that wasn't reliable at the least anymore. I made a boulder
fort to give me time to heal and used my magic lamp to get a gray
dragon scale mail (annoying since humans really need that lamp). When
I left the fort the arch-lich used his touch of death, which luckily
didn't work because of my brand new armour. In the end I levelported
away from the castle because I didn't have see invisible or telepathy
so the lich was kind of hard to track.

Ok, maybe I was extremely unlucky to get that arch-lich but still it
seems that the new castle (with the possible uncontrollable purple
liches) needs much more preparation than the castle in Nethack.
Nethack's castle can be done without magic resistance and reflection.
Isn't the idea of the castle that whatever you didn't find in the
dungeon you can get from the castle wand? Was the castle made harder
because of people digging for victory? I'm not one of those and at
least the first impression is that the new castle cramps my (playing)
style. :) But of course this opinion is just based on one bad
experience so don't take me too seriously...

--
*Riina*

Kent Paul Dolan

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Jul 9, 2007, 5:27:03 AM7/9/07
to

"Passing it to the display program" would presumably
satisfy both needs?

> Would it be possible to copy/paste text from such
> a "small GUI frontend" without problems?

No, it wouldn't, because you'd be trying to cut and
paste images, not text.

[In the real world of raster displays,
you're _always_ trying to cut and paste
working against font glyph "images" anyway,
but still, this would break that as it
currently exists, where the cut and paste
tool for any text display program expects
that program's interface to be supporting
treating those glyph images AS IF THEY WERE
the underlying character code bytes. You'd
probably be easily able to guess how
complicated this mapping from screen
location back to text string bytes can get
when the text being displayed is in mixed
sizes and fonts, using proportionally spaced
fonts.]

> (I suppose this would be possible to facilitate,
> but very platform dependent?)

Probably not, and that's a good point. However,
(quick redesign here) a pure text interface at the
user end could still be done with tile map indices
the communication mechanism between user and server,
just by mapping those back in the receiving end to
ncurses commands/ANSI-color strings before
displaying them, now as pure text.

The useful thing about using tile map indices as the
communications interface is that it is lossless,
unlike the current attempt to turn byte value and
character color into a tile index, a lossy
operation.

> Janis, not very happy about *any* _mandatory_
> non-text GUI, not particularly in Nethack but in
> general, if it would be bulky or less flexible,
> and always prefer a simple coupling

Well, leaving "current mode" as an available option
should cater to that desire, and it would be the
case that many, many common cut and paste abuses now
possible in server play text mode wouldn't work for
the tiles mode, at least not without extra effort
(and bulk) in the local display tool.

Quantum valeat.

xanthian.


Derek Ray

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Jul 9, 2007, 7:50:34 AM7/9/07
to

That is. That is the "reminder hint" that using unskilled or restricted
weapons have a hard to-hit limit of 75%.

Raisse the Thaumaturge

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Jul 9, 2007, 10:30:56 AM7/9/07
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Derek Ray wrote:

> Henry J Cobb wrote:
>> Derek Ray wrote:
>>> There is a server available for play at telnet://nethack.nineball.org;
>>
>> I'm attacking with unskilled Sting and I got:
>>
>> You aren't sure you're doing this the right way...
>>
>> Is that new?
>
> That is. That is the "reminder hint" that using unskilled or restricted
> weapons have a hard to-hit limit of 75%.

But if you're discouraged from using weapons when unskilled, how do you
ever pick up the skill? I'd probably come to hate the message if I
couldn't turn it off.

Raisse, killed by a dagger
--
ir...@valdyas.org LegoHack: http://www.valdyas.org/irina/nethack/
Status of Raisse (piously neutral): Level 8 HP 63(67) AC -3, fast.

Janis

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Jul 9, 2007, 10:56:41 AM7/9/07
to
On 9 Jul., 16:30, Raisse the Thaumaturge <rai...@valdyas.org> wrote:
> Derek Ray wrote:
> > Henry J Cobb wrote:
> >> Derek Ray wrote:
> >>> There is a server available for play at telnet://nethack.nineball.org;
>
> >> I'm attacking with unskilled Sting and I got:
> >> You aren't sure you're doing this the right way...
>
> >> Is that new?
>
> > That is. That is the "reminder hint" that using unskilled or restricted
> > weapons have a hard to-hit limit of 75%.
>
> But if you're discouraged from using weapons when unskilled, how do you
> ever pick up the skill? I'd probably come to hate the message if I
> couldn't turn it off.

I've got similar feelings already with Nethack's "bulky armor"
message.

Janis

Derek Ray

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Jul 9, 2007, 12:35:39 PM7/9/07
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Raisse the Thaumaturge wrote:
> Derek Ray wrote:
>
>> Henry J Cobb wrote:
>>> Derek Ray wrote:
>>>> There is a server available for play at telnet://nethack.nineball.org;
>>> I'm attacking with unskilled Sting and I got:
>>>
>>> You aren't sure you're doing this the right way...
>>>
>>> Is that new?
>> That is. That is the "reminder hint" that using unskilled or restricted
>> weapons have a hard to-hit limit of 75%.
>
> But if you're discouraged from using weapons when unskilled, how do you
> ever pick up the skill? I'd probably come to hate the message if I
> couldn't turn it off.

You hit something 20 times, and #enhance to Basic?

I may reduce the frequency of its occurrence (it's only 1/3 swings at
the moment), but it's important to have the message, since a maxed-luck
character can hit 100% of the time with just about _anything_ right now.

(There will be a different message soon for bashing with footrice
corpses, etc, since those don't HAVE a skill; at the moment it's the
same message, but that's inappropriate.)

Jym

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Jul 9, 2007, 1:52:41 PM7/9/07
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On Mon, 09 Jul 2007 18:35:39 +0200, Derek Ray
<moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com> wrote:

> Raisse the Thaumaturge wrote:
>> Derek Ray wrote:
>>
>>> Henry J Cobb wrote:
>>>> Derek Ray wrote:
>>>>> There is a server available for play at
>>>>> telnet://nethack.nineball.org;
>>>> I'm attacking with unskilled Sting and I got:
>>>>
>>>> You aren't sure you're doing this the right way...
>>>>
>>>> Is that new?
>>> That is. That is the "reminder hint" that using unskilled or
>>> restricted
>>> weapons have a hard to-hit limit of 75%.
>>
>> But if you're discouraged from using weapons when unskilled, how do you
>> ever pick up the skill? I'd probably come to hate the message if I
>> couldn't turn it off.
>
> You hit something 20 times, and #enhance to Basic?
>
> I may reduce the frequency of its occurrence (it's only 1/3 swings at
> the moment), but it's important to have the message, since a maxed-luck
> character can hit 100% of the time with just about _anything_ right now.

Maybe you should only display the message if the limit has been reached.
So, in early game with no luck and low level the to-hit will not be
hampered by the limit and you won't have the message.
In the late game, you'll get the message but only if you try to learn a
new skill at that time, which is far less likely that learning new skill
in the early game.
[and you'll have 75% to hit, so that 20 hit should come in 25-30 try
leading to 8-10 messages if it come 1/3 of the time]

--
Hypocoristiquement,
Jym.

rpresser

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Jul 9, 2007, 3:13:36 PM7/9/07
to

Why should there be? Short of a bag (of holding or otherwise), gold
has not only weight but also volume.

sjde...@yahoo.com

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Jul 9, 2007, 6:03:50 PM7/9/07
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On Jul 9, 5:10 am, Riina <riina.hurmalai...@helsinki.fi> wrote:
> Ok, maybe I was extremely unlucky to get that arch-lich but still it
> seems that the new castle (with the possible uncontrollable purple
> liches) needs much more preparation than the castle in Nethack.
> Nethack's castle can be done without magic resistance and reflection.
> Isn't the idea of the castle that whatever you didn't find in the
> dungeon you can get from the castle wand?

I, too, hit a purple L and was lucky to have GDSM already. I was XL13
at that point. I also concur with the point that the Castle is there
to ensure that all games are winnable--at a minimum you can get, say,
MR, reflection, PR, and 7 candles out of the wand (with wresting, post-
charging scrolls). Putting the only guaranteed source of MR _after_ a
place where MR may be required seems like a major problem to me.

OTOH, the abundance of gnomish armor early on seems to make things a
fair sight easier, especially for gnomes...I might at least limit
those drops to gnome lords/kings (or maybe very rarely regular
gnomes). There'd still be ample sources of smurf gear for gnomish
racial ascensions, but it wouldn't skew the early game quite so
heavily.

Those gray F are _nasty_--I'm trying to interact with everything new
to figure it out, and wasn't expecting that.

Derek Ray

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Jul 9, 2007, 6:04:35 PM7/9/07
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Martin Read wrote:
> Derek Ray <moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com> wrote:
>> It's worth noting that neither master liches nor arch-liches will
>> typically be generated at the castle, unless you've spent a great deal
>> of time gaining XL well past 14 prior to the castle.
>
> It's worth noting that I've more or less never reached the castle later
> than XL 16, and I've still had an ML there.
>
> Also, of course, a chameleon or polytrap can produce an arch-lich
> *anywhere*.

The chameleon/polytrap issue I'm not so worried about; there should
always be some degree of random element for a little spice, and both of
these are sufficiently rare (with the chameleon circumstance
self-correcting in a few turns anyway).

Getting a teleporty lich in the castle is an odd one. I've seen a
master lich there once when a demilich quaffed a gain level potion;
that's also relatively corner-case, but at least provides for the
possibility of purple L world. An arch-lich would be extremely rare.

I think I'd like to see some more in-game results before making any kind
of firm decision one way or the other. Riina was able to succeed (ie.
Not Die) through using some resources that are typically "save forever"
at that point in the game; to wit, a scroll of earth and a magic lamp
(there's a case to be made that you should burn the lamp immediately for
MR, but that's a separate discussion). The master lich in the castle
should be a rare case, and as long as people have a reasonable amount of
resources to do something when they arrive, ... well, you get the idea.

This is why I'd like to see more games played before changing anything.
The skilled players are used to defaulting to E as their "primary"
defense, rather than spending other resources, because E is extremely
cheap compared to those resources. I'd like to see how those same
players' ingenuity handles unexpected situations like this once they're
used to the concept of a non-100% E. At first it'll be a shocker, but
apparently it wasn't automatically non-survivable, so...

Derek Ray

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Jul 9, 2007, 6:06:52 PM7/9/07
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Jym wrote:
> On Mon, 09 Jul 2007 18:35:39 +0200, Derek Ray
> <moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com> wrote:
>> Raisse the Thaumaturge wrote:
>>> But if you're discouraged from using weapons when unskilled, how do you
>>> ever pick up the skill? I'd probably come to hate the message if I
>>> couldn't turn it off.
>>
>> You hit something 20 times, and #enhance to Basic?
>>
>> I may reduce the frequency of its occurrence (it's only 1/3 swings at
>> the moment), but it's important to have the message, since a maxed-luck
>> character can hit 100% of the time with just about _anything_ right now.
>
> Maybe you should only display the message if the limit has been reached.

In other words, if the player's to-hit chance with an unskilled weapon
is such that it needs to be modified downwards? That is probably a good
idea.

> So, in early game with no luck and low level the to-hit will not be
> hampered by the limit and you won't have the message.

Right. (This is also why I wasn't concerned about it bothering
early-game players/characters, by the way -- your chances to hit are
miserable anyway, and you always get "basic" in your starting weapon.
Admittedly, this might annoy archaeologists, but we'll see how it goes.)

Derek Ray

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Jul 9, 2007, 6:20:26 PM7/9/07
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sjde...@yahoo.com wrote:
> On Jul 9, 5:10 am, Riina <riina.hurmalai...@helsinki.fi> wrote:
>> Isn't the idea of the castle that whatever you didn't find in the
>> dungeon you can get from the castle wand?

This is a very "silver bullet" approach to design, and as should be
obvious, I don't really like silver bullets. I concede that something
like that guaranteed wand is almost a necessity, given what the player
may encounter in Gehennom, but by the same token, I don't really care
for the way the wand can basically reduce the game to "OK, go win now."

> I, too, hit a purple L and was lucky to have GDSM already. I was XL13
> at that point. I also concur with the point that the Castle is there
> to ensure that all games are winnable--at a minimum you can get, say,
> MR, reflection, PR, and 7 candles out of the wand (with wresting, post-
> charging scrolls). Putting the only guaranteed source of MR _after_ a
> place where MR may be required seems like a major problem to me.

So is it possible here that the problem is that an attack exists in the
game that _requires_ MR, no ifs, ands, or buts? Nothing that you've
said above is specifically relevant to my changes... _except_ that
Elbereth is no longer available as a 100% change.

I'm open to the concept of making the master lich and arch-lich be only
generatable in hell; this solves the problem of purple L at the castle
quite nicely. I'm also open to the concept of examining the master
lich's attacks at close range and seeing if we have a significant
problem with some of them -- or if the problem is the behavior of
covetous monsters in general (jump you so that you have no time to
prepare) combined with the Elbereth change.

> OTOH, the abundance of gnomish armor early on seems to make things a
> fair sight easier, especially for gnomes...I might at least limit
> those drops to gnome lords/kings (or maybe very rarely regular

Well, for a gnome, the armor is +2/+2/+2, giving them AC4 if that's all
they have. This is equivalent to a dwarvish iron helm, iron shoes, and
some token leather armor. (The boots are +3 right now and I'm going to
tone that back slightly to bring it in line with dwarf gear, since the
gnomish armor being leather is nice for a spellcaster).

Sure, there's tons of it; I may need to hook the code and make sure
that, say, +5 gnomish suits don't pop up all over the place or
something, but in general, there's tons of dwarvish armor in the mines
as well, so... ?

> gnomes). There'd still be ample sources of smurf gear for gnomish
> racial ascensions, but it wouldn't skew the early game quite so
> heavily.

Does it actually skew the game that much more than a gnome doing the
same thing with dwarvish armor and mithril? Sure, it wrecks his
casting, but the AC is also noticeably better...

> Those gray F are _nasty_--I'm trying to interact with everything new
> to figure it out, and wasn't expecting that.

They don't move, so it's really more of a monster in the style of the
floating eye -- you die to it once, learn "Those are bad", and then
you're discouraged from casually snowplowing everything you see. It's
generally just going to be some token flavor, though.

I must point out, at least with the fungus you can #pray after making
the mistake, or if you're lucky you have a unihorn/EH potion handy.

Derek Ray

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Jul 9, 2007, 6:25:44 PM7/9/07
to
Derek Ray wrote:
> said above is specifically relevant to my changes... _except_ that
> Elbereth is no longer available as a 100% change.

This should read "100% effective defense."

Jym

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Jul 9, 2007, 6:40:02 PM7/9/07
to
On Tue, 10 Jul 2007 00:06:52 +0200, Derek Ray
<moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com> wrote:

> Jym wrote:
>> On Mon, 09 Jul 2007 18:35:39 +0200, Derek Ray
>> <moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com> wrote:
>>> Raisse the Thaumaturge wrote:
>>>> But if you're discouraged from using weapons when unskilled, how do
>>>> you
>>>> ever pick up the skill? I'd probably come to hate the message if I
>>>> couldn't turn it off.
>>>
>>> You hit something 20 times, and #enhance to Basic?
>>>
>>> I may reduce the frequency of its occurrence (it's only 1/3 swings at
>>> the moment), but it's important to have the message, since a maxed-luck
>>> character can hit 100% of the time with just about _anything_ right
>>> now.
>>
>> Maybe you should only display the message if the limit has been reached.
>
> In other words, if the player's to-hit chance with an unskilled weapon
> is such that it needs to be modified downwards? That is probably a good
> idea.

Exactly.

>> So, in early game with no luck and low level the to-hit will not be
>> hampered by the limit and you won't have the message.
>
> Right. (This is also why I wasn't concerned about it bothering
> early-game players/characters, by the way -- your chances to hit are
> miserable anyway, and you always get "basic" in your starting weapon.
> Admittedly, this might annoy archaeologists, but we'll see how it goes.)

But the early game is also the time where you can switch from your
starting weapon to a better one you intend to use later on (typically as a
wizard I'll train my dagger skill asap, especially on easy monsters, even
if that mean missing a few times. And keep the staff for harder monsters,
of course).

--
Hypocoristiquement,
Jym.

sjde...@yahoo.com

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Jul 9, 2007, 6:48:59 PM7/9/07
to
On Jul 9, 6:20 pm, Derek Ray <moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com> wrote:

> sjdevn...@yahoo.com wrote:
> > On Jul 9, 5:10 am, Riina <riina.hurmalai...@helsinki.fi> wrote:
> >> Isn't the idea of the castle that whatever you didn't find in the
> >> dungeon you can get from the castle wand?
>
> This is a very "silver bullet" approach to design, and as should be
> obvious, I don't really like silver bullets.

Hmm. This may be a fundamental disagreement in design, then--I prefer
games of skill over games of chance, so randomized solutions (like the
new E) tend to rub me the wrong way when they're the only way of
preventing arbitrary "Bang! You're dead!" situations (e.g. random
purple L from polytrap/chameleon/etc).

> like that guaranteed wand is almost a necessity, given what the player
> may encounter in Gehennom, but by the same token, I don't really care
> for the way the wand can basically reduce the game to "OK, go win now."

Yeah, that I can see. I like having a way to fill in gaps in items
that are pretty much required, but there needs to be more threat from
Gehennom.

> > I, too, hit a purple L and was lucky to have GDSM already. I was XL13
> > at that point. I also concur with the point that the Castle is there
> > to ensure that all games are winnable--at a minimum you can get, say,
> > MR, reflection, PR, and 7 candles out of the wand (with wresting, post-
> > charging scrolls). Putting the only guaranteed source of MR _after_ a
> > place where MR may be required seems like a major problem to me.
>
> So is it possible here that the problem is that an attack exists in the
> game that _requires_ MR, no ifs, ands, or buts? Nothing that you've
> said above is specifically relevant to my changes... _except_ that
> Elbereth is no longer available as a 100% change.

Right, previously the game had a solution for the MR-less. Now you
need MR to assault wishes; the E change has made MR even more of a
requirement than before. There's an instadeath that is randomly
generated that no skill can account for now--you need to have found
some sort of item (I think scare monster might work too) rather than
there being a way to work your way out of the situation.

With regular L (or black dragons, etc) you can at least run away and
otherwise keep them at bay if they happen to show up before you're
prepared. The "teleport to you" combined with the "instadeath" is
really the killer here--it's fine for Rodney, who you've had ample
time to get resources ready for.

> I'm open to the concept of making the master lich and arch-lich be only
> generatable in hell; this solves the problem of purple L at the castle
> quite nicely. I'm also open to the concept of examining the master
> lich's attacks at close range and seeing if we have a significant
> problem with some of them -- or if the problem is the behavior of
> covetous monsters in general (jump you so that you have no time to
> prepare) combined with the Elbereth change.

Basically, touch of death is a binary MR/no MR thing. As long as
creatures can be generated before you have a wish that can ToD (e.g.
regular L + !gain level, chameleon, etc) then they need to be things
that you can outrun, drop E on, whatever--otherwise you're just
introducing more "random unavoidable death" things of the GWTWOD
type. At least searching assiduously and pet-stepping can mitigate
poison spikes.

I'd be okay with nerfing E if combined with "no purple L before
Gehennom, including from polytraps/chameleons/!gain level". Or even
"purple L can't teleport outside Gehennom", though a summoning storm
early on could _suck_.

> > OTOH, the abundance of gnomish armor early on seems to make things a
> > fair sight easier, especially for gnomes...I might at least limit
> > those drops to gnome lords/kings (or maybe very rarely regular
>
> Well, for a gnome, the armor is +2/+2/+2, giving them AC4 if that's all
> they have. This is equivalent to a dwarvish iron helm, iron shoes, and
> some token leather armor. (The boots are +3 right now and I'm going to
> tone that back slightly to bring it in line with dwarf gear, since the
> gnomish armor being leather is nice for a spellcaster).

I guess it's just the sheer amount that does it for me--gnomes are all
over the place. I often have to get a couple levels in before I get
shoes and a helm from dwarves, and leather armor less common. It's
not a huge deal, though.

> Sure, there's tons of it; I may need to hook the code and make sure
> that, say, +5 gnomish suits don't pop up all over the place or
> something

That could be a concern, I guess.

I think overall it makes the early game slightly easier without
affecting the mid-late game at all, which is really a pretty good
tradeoff as far as I'm concerned.

> > Those gray F are _nasty_--I'm trying to interact with everything new
> > to figure it out, and wasn't expecting that.
>
> They don't move, so it's really more of a monster in the style of the
> floating eye -- you die to it once, learn "Those are bad", and then
> you're discouraged from casually snowplowing everything you see. It's
> generally just going to be some token flavor, though.

Yeah, I like them--it was just a surprise. :-)

> I must point out, at least with the fungus you can #pray after making
> the mistake, or if you're lucky you have a unihorn/EH potion handy.

Or, if non-chaotic, !holy water.

sjde...@yahoo.com

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Jul 9, 2007, 6:51:43 PM7/9/07
to
On Jul 9, 6:48 pm, "sjdevn...@yahoo.com" <sjdevn...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Right, previously the game had a solution for the MR-less. Now you
> need MR to assault wishes

To assault the castle.

Riina

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Jul 9, 2007, 7:27:21 PM7/9/07
to
On 10 heinä, 01:20, Derek Ray <moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com> wrote:
> sjdevn...@yahoo.com wrote:
> > I, too, hit a purple L and was lucky to have GDSM already. I was XL13
> > at that point. I also concur with the point that the Castle is there
> > to ensure that all games are winnable--at a minimum you can get, say,
> > MR, reflection, PR, and 7 candles out of the wand (with wresting, post-
> > charging scrolls). Putting the only guaranteed source of MR _after_ a
> > place where MR may be required seems like a major problem to me.
>
> So is it possible here that the problem is that an attack exists in the
> game that _requires_ MR, no ifs, ands, or buts? Nothing that you've
> said above is specifically relevant to my changes... _except_ that
> Elbereth is no longer available as a 100% change.
>
> I'm open to the concept of making the master lich and arch-lich be only
> generatable in hell; this solves the problem of purple L at the castle
> quite nicely. I'm also open to the concept of examining the master
> lich's attacks at close range and seeing if we have a significant
> problem with some of them -- or if the problem is the behavior of
> covetous monsters in general (jump you so that you have no time to
> prepare) combined with the Elbereth change.
>

I once played a whole game of Nethack without magic resistance _and_
without genociding the liches (I guess I would have ascended if I
hadn't escaped the dungeon without the amulet by accident, whoopsie).
That was possible with Elbereth and some good luck. In Sporkhack that
would be much harder to do. So if I were to try a MRless character in
Sporkhack I would definitely genocide the liches. Maybe that is a sign
of me not wanting to risk things or a sign that the liches need some
changes too combined with the Elbereth change (as you already
mentioned).

So yes, without safe Elbereth there is an attack which requires magic
resistance. If no changes are made that means that magic resistance
becomes much more important and if there are teleporting liches in the
castle (which isn't all that rare in my experience) people have to
resort to some funny things they wouldn't normally do like go fountain
dipping or genociding. Unless they want their possessions
identified... ;)

--
*Riina*

Janis Papanagnou

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Jul 9, 2007, 7:36:35 PM7/9/07
to
Derek Ray wrote:
> Martin Read wrote:
>>Derek Ray <moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com> wrote:
>>
>>>It's worth noting that neither master liches nor arch-liches will
>>>typically be generated at the castle, unless you've spent a great deal
>>>of time gaining XL well past 14 prior to the castle.
>>
>>It's worth noting that I've more or less never reached the castle later
>>than XL 16, and I've still had an ML there.
>
> Getting a teleporty lich in the castle is an odd one.

I've had that happen often enough to telepathy/blindfold check the level
as soon as I arrive at the Castle. Without MR, I immediately leave to go
through the boredom of finding some source of MR randomly generated (if
I not yet have anything). And I am not someone who levels up far beyond
XL:14 at that point (not even as a wizard).

> I've seen a
> master lich there once when a demilich quaffed a gain level potion;
> that's also relatively corner-case, but at least provides for the
> possibility of purple L world. An arch-lich would be extremely rare.

I cannot say for sure whether one (or many or all) incidents of that type
may have happened with help of a potion of gain level in the liches hand,
but if there's such a beast I really don't care whether he became violet
or was a native one. It just happens. And it shouldn't be a dead end, nor
boring to continue, in such a case. (I cannot speak for your patch, I've
not yet tried it.)

> The skilled players are used to defaulting to E as their "primary"
> defense, rather than spending other resources,

What would be an appropriate other ressource in that case to prevent the
touch of death? A potion of hallucination? Has a player *any* realistic
chance to survive a liches' summon storm of mind flayers and minotaurs
while hallucinating. The only way to (maybe) survive such an incident
seems to retreat and come back to fight another day (including a boring
search for MR).

> because E is extremely
> cheap compared to those resources. I'd like to see how those same
> players' ingenuity handles unexpected situations like this once they're
> used to the concept of a non-100% E. At first it'll be a shocker, but
> apparently it wasn't automatically non-survivable, so...

The number of choices seem to me to be very very small. But I may not be
proficient enough to play in the upper league and solve that challenge,
granted.

Janis, in veneration for(of?) all the harder conduct players

Martin Read

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Jul 9, 2007, 7:36:51 PM7/9/07
to
Derek Ray <moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com> wrote:
>I'm open to the concept of making the master lich and arch-lich be only
>generatable in hell; this solves the problem of purple L at the castle
>quite nicely.

They already *are* only generatable in Hell under normal circumstances.
However, typed random monster selection caused by a
MONSTER:'X',random,(x,y) directive in a level file bypasses at least
some of the normal safeguards on monster creation. Additionally, if an
demilich gets generated with a PoGL, the Grow Up effect completley
ignores the generation algorithm.

ran...@pactechdata.com

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Jul 9, 2007, 8:26:10 PM7/9/07
to
On Jul 9, 4:27 pm, Riina <riina.hurmalai...@helsinki.fi> wrote:
[...]

> So yes, without safe Elbereth there is an attack which requires magic
> resistance. If no changes are made that means that magic resistance
> becomes much more important and if there are teleporting liches in the
> castle (which isn't all that rare in my experience) people have to
> resort to some funny things they wouldn't normally do like go fountain
> dipping or genociding. Unless they want their possessions
> identified... ;)

If you engrave in advance, then you're doing the sort of
this that nerfing Elbereth seems intended to fix. Or if you
have time to engrave after the monster teleports next to you,
then you also have to time to quaff a potion of hallucination
instead. So claiming that Elbereth is the only way to avoid
touch of death besides magic resistance is a bit of a stretch.

Riina

unread,
Jul 9, 2007, 9:12:14 PM7/9/07
to

Well, in that MR-less game I played I encountered 7 master liches and
5 arch-liches. I didn't have 12 potions of hallucination. So without
Elbereth I wouldn't have made it with my two amulets of life saving.
Well, that was a silly conduct game, but that's where you need the
protection of Elbereth the most. In my normal games I don't usually
bother using Elbereth against liches - if I have MR that is.

If you have to rely on potions of hallucination to avoid the touch of
death you can't unihorn dip your potions as liberally as before. Also
engraving works in a single turn, potions are usually bagged away. Of
course tinning some molds and eating them works too but tinning kits
are relatively rare (as are potions of hallucination too). And as
Janis already pointed out I wouldn't want to be hallucinating near
summoners and not knowing what happens around me. That would _suck_.

--
*Riina* the biggest Elbereth-abuser there is!


Derek Ray

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Jul 9, 2007, 10:29:13 PM7/9/07
to
Martin Read wrote:
> Derek Ray <moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com> wrote:
>> I'm open to the concept of making the master lich and arch-lich be only
>> generatable in hell; this solves the problem of purple L at the castle
>> quite nicely.
>
> They already *are* only generatable in Hell under normal circumstances.
> However, typed random monster selection caused by a
> MONSTER:'X',random,(x,y) directive in a level file bypasses at least
> some of the normal safeguards on monster creation. Additionally, if an
> demilich gets generated with a PoGL, the Grow Up effect completley
> ignores the generation algorithm.

The level-file monster generation algorithm can be altered easily to
match the above "normal circumstances", if that's the way I end up going.

As stated before, I'm not too worried about the demilich with the gain
level potion. That is possible, but quite rare, and would only generate
a master lich, not an arch-lich.

(Honestly, I suspect that the attack behavior of covetous monsters may
be the primary offender here, but that's still subject to additional
review since it's not something I really want to modify _too_
thoughtlessly.)

syull...@gmail.com

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Jul 9, 2007, 10:38:46 PM7/9/07
to
On Jul 9, 5:03 pm, "sjdevn...@yahoo.com" <sjdevn...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> On Jul 9, 5:10 am, Riina <riina.hurmalai...@helsinki.fi> wrote:
>
> > Ok, maybe I was extremely unlucky to get that arch-lich but still it
> > seems that the new castle (with the possible uncontrollable purple
> > liches) needs much more preparation than the castle in Nethack.
> > Nethack's castle can be done without magic resistance and reflection.
> > Isn't the idea of the castle that whatever you didn't find in the
> > dungeon you can get from the castle wand?
>
> I, too, hit a purple L and was lucky to have GDSM already. I was XL13
> at that point. I also concur with the point that the Castle is there
> to ensure that all games are winnable--at a minimum you can get, say,
> MR, reflection, PR, and 7 candles out of the wand (with wresting, post-
> charging scrolls). Putting the only guaranteed source of MR _after_ a
> place where MR may be required seems like a major problem to me.

Why is MR required to fight liches? Doesn't hallucination also give
protection from death magic? Yellow mold corpses are common, and I
think only take one turn to eat. Change them to not decay, like lizard
corpses, and it gives you a 100% effective solution to the problem of
monsters using touch of death, without actually taking away their
spiffy attack.

Martin Read

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Jul 10, 2007, 3:48:09 AM7/10/07
to
syull...@gmail.com wrote:
>Why is MR required to fight liches? Doesn't hallucination also give
>protection from death magic?

If you lack MR, a master lich can drain 1d11 points of strength (MR
negates this entirely), stun you for 4d4 turns (MR reduces this to 1,
meaning that you recover immediately before your next action), apply
1d6 randomly distributed item curses to your pack (MR reduces this to
1d3), or 100% reliably destroy a randomly selected piece of worn armour
if you are wearing any (MR negates this entirely).

Additionally, MR halves the damage caused by the lich's psi bolts. Given
that a master lich's psi bolts do 8d6 damage each, this is quite
significant.

Darshan Shaligram

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Jul 10, 2007, 9:09:14 AM7/10/07
to
Janis Papanagnou <Janis_Pa...@hotmail.com> writes:
[dealing with boss liches without MR]

> What would be an appropriate other ressource in that case to prevent
> the touch of death?

Potions of paralysis work. I've taken an MR-less priest down to the
Sanctum using potions of paralysis and a wielded unicorn horn to deal
with boss liches (with free action, of course), and I am a lame lame
player compared to most of the citizens of nao.

--
Darshan Shaligram <scin...@gmail.com> Deus vult

Derek Ray

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Jul 10, 2007, 9:35:14 AM7/10/07
to
Jym wrote:
> On Tue, 10 Jul 2007 00:06:52 +0200, Derek Ray
> <moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com> wrote:
>
>> Jym wrote:
>>>
>>> Maybe you should only display the message if the limit has been reached.
>>
>> In other words, if the player's to-hit chance with an unskilled weapon
>> is such that it needs to be modified downwards? That is probably a good
>> idea.
>
> Exactly.

And as it turns out upon review, the code is currently written that way;
no changes required. (Apparently I've put more thought into this than I
think. ;)

If I have to reduce your to-hit because of unskilled or restricted,
*and* a 1/3 chance comes up, only then will the message be displayed.
So low-level characters shouldn't see this much at all.

David Damerell

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Jul 10, 2007, 10:38:03 AM7/10/07
to
Quoting Derek Ray <moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com>:
>If I have to reduce your to-hit because of unskilled or restricted,
>*and* a 1/3 chance comes up, only then will the message be displayed.
>So low-level characters shouldn't see this much at all.

I've only just seen this and have not had a proper look, but are you
intending to address the massive surplus of to-hit in the middle and late
game?
--
OPTIONS=name:Kirsty,menustyle:C,female,lit_corridor,standout,time,showexp,hilit
e_pet,catname:Akane,dogname:Ryoga,fruit:okonomiyaki,pickup_types:"!$?=/,scores:
5 top/2 around,color,boulder:0,autoquiver,autodig,disclose:yiyayvygyc,pickup_bu
rden:burdened,!cmdassist,msg_window:reversed,!sparkle,horsename:Rumiko,showrace

Jym

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Jul 10, 2007, 12:38:44 PM7/10/07
to
On Tue, 10 Jul 2007 09:48:09 +0200, Martin Read
<mpr...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote:

> syull...@gmail.com wrote:
>> Why is MR required to fight liches? Doesn't hallucination also give
>> protection from death magic?
>
> If you lack MR, a master lich can drain 1d11 points of strength (MR
> negates this entirely), stun you for 4d4 turns (MR reduces this to 1,
> meaning that you recover immediately before your next action), apply
> 1d6 randomly distributed item curses to your pack (MR reduces this to
> 1d3), or 100% reliably destroy a randomly selected piece of worn armour
> if you are wearing any (MR negates this entirely).
>
> Additionally, MR halves the damage caused by the lich's psi bolts. Given
> that a master lich's psi bolts do 8d6 damage each, this is quite
> significant.

Yet, for the Sporkhack case where the problme is that Elbereth is not 100%
efficace, I dare say that Elbereth is still mostly efficace against these
things that are very very bad is they happen every turn but only a big but
not mortal problem if they happen say, 10% of time (guessingthat Elbereth
works 90% of time).

In that case, the only mortal problem that remains with the L is the touch
of death that can be effectively negated by hallucination.
And again, this happen (in Sporkhack) baiscally only by magic traps or
Castle L (after that the wands gives you MR).

So, basically, the way to pass the Castle in Sporkhack might be to keep a
few potions of hallucination in case of purple L. I guess that creative
use of items for corner case situations is exactly what Derek was after.
And it only took rgrn a couple of days to find a solution to a problem
that appeared as first as being very very bad (see the original post with
this problem)...

--
Hypocoristiquement,
Jym.

funcrunch

unread,
Jul 10, 2007, 1:01:16 PM7/10/07
to
On Jul 10, 9:38 am, Jym <Jean-Yves.Moyen+n...@ens-lyon.org> wrote:

> So, basically, the way to pass the Castle in Sporkhack might be to keep a
> few potions of hallucination in case of purple L. I guess that creative
> use of items for corner case situations is exactly what Derek was after.
> And it only took rgrn a couple of days to find a solution to a problem
> that appeared as first as being very very bad (see the original post with
> this problem)...

Excuse my ignorance, but is it really that common to get all the way
to the Castle without magic resistance? Of course, if you're not a
wizard and you find no wishes, good bones or scale-dropping gray
dragons before then I guess you really need to get that WoW. But I
don't even like to do my quest without both MR and reflection, and I
rarely do the Castle before the quest unless the quest enemy is really
tough (like the monk's Master Kaen).

As far as Elbereth, I do use it but very sparingly, more to protect
stashes (which I don't use much either) than protect myself. There's
at least one recent case where E would likely have saved me, but I was
distracted and forgot to use it. I think the E-word is too powerful,
and would enjoy seeing an E-less conduct (there I go with my conduct
suggestions again ;-) )

- funcrunch

Janis Papanagnou

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Jul 10, 2007, 1:12:42 PM7/10/07
to
Jym wrote:
>
> So, basically, the way to pass the Castle in Sporkhack might be to keep
> a few potions of hallucination in case of purple L.

No. You can't tell apart the non-E-respecting minotaur from the other
summonned nasties while hallucinating. You will have to trade one set
of likely deaths by another set which is similarly fatal.

WRT the 10% proposal, which is apparently better than the 25%, that's
introducing a russian roulette factor with 10 bullet chambers instead
of just 4.

Janis

Martin Read

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Jul 10, 2007, 1:27:29 PM7/10/07
to
Jym <Jean-Yves....@ens-lyon.org> wrote:
>So, basically, the way to pass the Castle in Sporkhack might be to keep a
>few potions of hallucination in case of purple L.

And a ring of sustain ability. An arch-lich can drain 1d19 points of
strength rather than 1d11.

Better is for the Sporkhack maintainer to fix lich generation at the
castle so that purple 'L' cannot be selected; it might also be worth
fiddling their inventories.

Idle thought: maybe purple 'L' should not use covetous teleport to
pursue players who do not have an item they desire.

Janis Papanagnou

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Jul 10, 2007, 1:37:15 PM7/10/07
to
funcrunch wrote:
> On Jul 10, 9:38 am, Jym <Jean-Yves.Moyen+n...@ens-lyon.org> wrote:
>
>>So, basically, the way to pass the Castle in Sporkhack might be to keep a
>>few potions of hallucination in case of purple L. I guess that creative
>>use of items for corner case situations is exactly what Derek was after.
>>And it only took rgrn a couple of days to find a solution to a problem
>>that appeared as first as being very very bad (see the original post with
>>this problem)...
>
> Excuse my ignorance, but is it really that common to get all the way
> to the Castle without magic resistance?

That's nothing to do with ignorance; though I wonder that you were so
lucky in the past to always have got MR before that point.

> Of course, if you're not a wizard

I am roughly one 13th of my games a different role than a wizard.

> and you find no wishes,

I don't "find" wishes, usually, there are just the rare wands and the
magic lamps. Altars are almost always a dud for me. And fiddling with
fountains I don't want to do if I can avoid that for apparent reasons.

> good bones or scale-dropping gray dragons before then

The castle is indeed one of my three major sources for MR (besides
Ludios, which is not guaranteed, and throne rooms on appropriate deep
dungeon level).

> I guess you really need to get that WoW. But I
> don't even like to do my quest without both MR and reflection,

The same for me. That's the reason why I try to get GDSM from the Castle
if I haven't yet found any other source of MR, in which case I search
more thoroughly for a possible Ludios entry, and if there's no dragons
or if they don't leave scales, I desperately give any magic lamp (if I
happen to have one) the 80% chance to give me MR, or try the fountains.
Things are easier if there are no purple L on the Castle level; then I
continue even without MR.

BTW, my last promising character died without MR due to a golden naga's
PSI bolt! (Golden nagas are less problematic than purple L's, and I had
some choice to survive, but... <sigh>.)

> I think the E-word is too powerful, [...]

The *permanent* E-word is indeed very powerful (once you have a means
to do that); though not so all that scribbling in the dust, which is
both unrealiable to write and it's quite impossible to fight from such
a spot (spells are an exception). (The one-turn athame is a special case
which is not generally available.)

Janis

Rachel Elizabeth Dillon

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Jul 10, 2007, 1:48:44 PM7/10/07
to
On 2007-07-10, Martin Read <mpr...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote:
> Jym <Jean-Yves....@ens-lyon.org> wrote:
>>So, basically, the way to pass the Castle in Sporkhack might be to keep a
>>few potions of hallucination in case of purple L.
>
> And a ring of sustain ability. An arch-lich can drain 1d19 points of
> strength rather than 1d11.

There are more ways than that. A scroll of scare monster still repels
a lich at 100%, for example.

> Better is for the Sporkhack maintainer to fix lich generation at the
> castle so that purple 'L' cannot be selected; it might also be worth
> fiddling their inventories.

I think best is to make more items that players usually just blank or
leave behind do things that help solve this type of problem. Scare
monster for non-illiterates and hallucination used to be junk items,
and now you might think about carrying them around for a while; I can't
think of a way to make a potion of restore ability protect you from an
arch-lich but if I could that would be awesome. :)

> Idle thought: maybe purple 'L' should not use covetous teleport to
> pursue players who do not have an item they desire.

Certainly the teleport-to-you behavior is harsh and a half if there's
no way to get them off your back. Whether that's the way to go or not
I'd have to think about more than I did before writing this post. :)

-r.

sjde...@yahoo.com

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Jul 10, 2007, 2:12:36 PM7/10/07
to
funcrunch wrote:
> On Jul 10, 9:38 am, Jym <Jean-Yves.Moyen+n...@ens-lyon.org> wrote:
>
> > So, basically, the way to pass the Castle in Sporkhack might be to keep a
> > few potions of hallucination in case of purple L. I guess that creative
> > use of items for corner case situations is exactly what Derek was after.
> > And it only took rgrn a couple of days to find a solution to a problem
> > that appeared as first as being very very bad (see the original post with
> > this problem)...
>
> Excuse my ignorance, but is it really that common to get all the way
> to the Castle without magic resistance?\

Barring a magic lamp in minetown or a lucky bones/fountain, the normal
course of action without MR is to find an instrument and head straight
for the Castle.

> Of course, if you're not a
> wizard and you find no wishes, good bones or scale-dropping gray
> dragons before then I guess you really need to get that WoW.

> But I don't even like to do my quest without both MR and reflection

Definitely not.
> And I rarely do the Castle before the quest unless the quest enemy is really


> tough (like the monk's Master Kaen).

I'm practically never XL14 before the castle; normally I'll do the
Castle, Valley, and sometimes most of gehennom until I get to XL14.
If I'm in a hurry and have plenty of wishes I may revgeno wraiths
after the Castle to get there.

> As far as Elbereth, I do use it but very sparingly, more to protect
> stashes (which I don't use much either) than protect myself.

I use it early on (where it's still effective in sporkhack) and if
something comes at me that I don't yet have the resources to deal with
(e.g. a teleporting L with touch of death). And for stash protection.

sjde...@yahoo.com

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Jul 10, 2007, 4:10:20 PM7/10/07
to
On Jul 10, 2:12 pm, "sjdevn...@yahoo.com" <sjdevn...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> funcrunch wrote:
> > On Jul 10, 9:38 am, Jym <Jean-Yves.Moyen+n...@ens-lyon.org> wrote:
>
> > > So, basically, the way to pass the Castle in Sporkhack might be to keep a
> > > few potions of hallucination in case of purple L. I guess that creative
> > > use of items for corner case situations is exactly what Derek was after.
> > > And it only took rgrn a couple of days to find a solution to a problem
> > > that appeared as first as being very very bad (see the original post with
> > > this problem)...
>
> > Excuse my ignorance, but is it really that common to get all the way
> > to the Castle without magic resistance?\
>
> Barring a magic lamp in minetown or a lucky bones/fountain, the normal
> course of action without MR is to find an instrument and head straight
> for the Castle.

Ugh. I meant "the normal course of action after Minetown/Sokoban and
possibly Mines' End"--I'm not claiming Dive for Victory as the normal
course of action.

Janis Papanagnou

unread,
Jul 10, 2007, 5:54:25 PM7/10/07
to
Riina wrote:
>
> So yes, without safe Elbereth there is an attack which requires magic
> resistance. If no changes are made that means that magic resistance
> becomes much more important and if there are teleporting liches in the
> castle (which isn't all that rare in my experience) people have to
> resort to some funny things they wouldn't normally do like go fountain
> dipping or genociding. Unless they want their possessions
> identified... ;)

Nice said (with the closing statement)!

:-)

Janis

Derek Ray

unread,
Jul 10, 2007, 5:56:55 PM7/10/07
to
David Damerell wrote:
> Quoting Derek Ray <moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com>:
>> If I have to reduce your to-hit because of unskilled or restricted,
>> *and* a 1/3 chance comes up, only then will the message be displayed.
>> So low-level characters shouldn't see this much at all.
>
> I've only just seen this and have not had a proper look, but are you
> intending to address the massive surplus of to-hit in the middle and late
> game?

That is still under consideration, yes. Part of the problem is trying
to determine which particular source of to-hit is the big offender.
Luckstones seem obvious (+13 on a d20 scale is not good), as does the
fact that few monsters start out with comparable AC to the PC... even
the ones that are generated only deep down.

The other part of the problem is that there's also a point where the PC
_should_ be hacking through hordes effortlessly, and trying to decide
exactly which point that is takes some thought... which I haven't
focused on yet. :)

Derek Ray

unread,
Jul 10, 2007, 6:07:34 PM7/10/07
to
Martin Read wrote:
> Jym <Jean-Yves....@ens-lyon.org> wrote:
>> So, basically, the way to pass the Castle in Sporkhack might be to keep a
>> few potions of hallucination in case of purple L.
>
> And a ring of sustain ability. An arch-lich can drain 1d19 points of
> strength rather than 1d11.
>
> Better is for the Sporkhack maintainer

You mean me? ;)

> to fix lich generation at the
> castle so that purple 'L' cannot be selected; it might also be worth
> fiddling their inventories.

At the moment, I've removed covetousness from master liches; let's see
how that shakes out in test, since arch-liches should be both badass and
quite rare to find at the Castle. It'll go in with the next update.

> Idle thought: maybe purple 'L' should not use covetous teleport to
> pursue players who do not have an item they desire.

Right now I'm looking at the following change as well; make covetous
teleport for everything except Rodney be limited to 4 squares at a time,
similar to Expert jumping. (This includes attempting to retreat to the
stairs; they'd head there 4 steps at a time.)

What this would mean is that you would _not_ be able to run away from
the covetous monsters just by standard movement (which seems to have
been intended in the first place), but you WOULD have some use for the
scrolls of teleport/wand of teleport, and might even have a chance to
see them coming and do something about it.

I haven't implemented this yet as I'm still pondering over it to see if
anything's obviously broken or stupid about it, and hopefully it doesn't
nerf the covetous ones too much (though Asmo and Baal don't typically
wake up until you get within 4 squares of 'em anyway) in the process.

Janis Papanagnou

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Jul 10, 2007, 6:20:19 PM7/10/07
to
Derek Ray wrote:
>
> Right now I'm looking at the following change as well; make covetous
> teleport for everything except Rodney be limited to 4 squares at a time,
> similar to Expert jumping. (This includes attempting to retreat to the
> stairs; they'd head there 4 steps at a time.)
>
> What this would mean is that you would _not_ be able to run away from
> the covetous monsters just by standard movement (which seems to have
> been intended in the first place), but you WOULD have some use for the
> scrolls of teleport/wand of teleport, and might even have a chance to
> see them coming and do something about it.

You mean; I zap a wand of teleport which puts him on average <40 squares
away, so he needs 10 covetous teleports to reach you again. In this time
you've done what? Walking 10 squares within the maze (Castle or Gehennom)?
It will drain your precious teleport charges, but I cannot quite see what
problem this would solve WRT the MR/Elbereth effect. I would still try to
avoid them or just genocide all L's. - No risk, but fun.

> I haven't implemented this yet as I'm still pondering over it to see if
> anything's obviously broken or stupid about it, and hopefully it doesn't
> nerf the covetous ones too much (though Asmo and Baal don't typically
> wake up until you get within 4 squares of 'em anyway) in the process.

Janis

Derek Ray

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Jul 10, 2007, 6:40:10 PM7/10/07
to
Janis Papanagnou wrote:
> Derek Ray wrote:
>> Right now I'm looking at the following change as well; make covetous
>> teleport for everything except Rodney be limited to 4 squares at a time,
>> similar to Expert jumping. (This includes attempting to retreat to the
>> stairs; they'd head there 4 steps at a time.)
>>
>> What this would mean is that you would _not_ be able to run away from
>> the covetous monsters just by standard movement (which seems to have
>> been intended in the first place), but you WOULD have some use for the
>> scrolls of teleport/wand of teleport, and might even have a chance to
>> see them coming and do something about it.
>
> You mean; I zap a wand of teleport which puts him on average <40 squares
> away, so he needs 10 covetous teleports to reach you again. In this time
> you've done what? Walking 10 squares within the maze (Castle or Gehennom)?

That's a good question. What else do you have in your inventory and/or
bag, since you now have a few turns to take things out of the bag if
necessary? What _could_ you possibly do in that time?

Also, Gehennom is irrelevant to the discussion so far, which has been
entirely about it being too hard to reach the Castle wand as a
last-ditch source of MR.

> It will drain your precious teleport charges,

You mean the ones that players are currently saving and using to avoid
any kind of combat in Astral? OK, I'm fine with that.

> but I cannot quite see what
> problem this would solve WRT the MR/Elbereth effect.

It helps solve the one where the player responds to any non-@, non-A
threat by simply engraving Elbereth. Now the player may need to find
other solutions to the problem of a significant non-@, non-A threat.

It was pointed out that arch-liches teleport to you immediately and can
cast 'touch of death', which seems a particularly nasty and 'unfair' way
to die in light of the changes to E. So, having arch-liches not
teleport to you in a single turn would certainly mitigate this problem,
and frankly, by the time the player typically encounters arch-liches, I
expect the player to have more resources available than just a means of
reliably engraving Elbereth.

Derek Ray

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Jul 10, 2007, 6:46:30 PM7/10/07
to
Riina wrote:
> I once played a whole game of Nethack without magic resistance _and_
> without genociding the liches (I guess I would have ascended if I
> hadn't escaped the dungeon without the amulet by accident, whoopsie).

It's hard to say "my hand slipped" on that one.

> That was possible with Elbereth and some good luck. In Sporkhack that
> would be much harder to do. So if I were to try a MRless character in
> Sporkhack I would definitely genocide the liches.

That is, indeed, a valid solution available to the player.

> Maybe that is a sign
> of me not wanting to risk things or a sign that the liches need some
> changes too combined with the Elbereth change (as you already
> mentioned).

That's a good question. I am quite intentionally not considering
conducts in the slightest while making these changes, because I don't
consider conducts to be part of the "core game". They are voluntary
challenges made by the player to him/herself to increase the difficulty
of the game, and as such are _going_ to have difficult problems
involved: take, for example, foodless atheist.

If I were to balance the game around, say, "make genoless conduct no
harder than it is now", I don't think the game would change very much
from standard Nethack, in which case why am I bothering?

Now, mind you, I would not be happy if genocide was the ONLY solution
available for liches in Sporkhack, but I don't think that's the case
right now, and certainly not with the other changes I'm considering
making (see my response elsewhere in this thread for details).

> So yes, without safe Elbereth there is an attack which requires magic
> resistance. If no changes are made that means that magic resistance
> becomes much more important

Well, yes and no. Magic resistance was already almost mandatory in the
game anyway, for many other reasons besides just the L special attacks.

I'm not enthralled with this state of affairs, either, but by the same
token, I don't think the Elbereth change has particularly altered the
way most players approach the game; right now the standard ascension kit
and its many variants still always includes "Two sources of MR just in
case Rodney steals your first one", yes?

And Rodney has always been able to touch-of-death, so...

Derek Ray

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Jul 10, 2007, 7:02:19 PM7/10/07
to
Janis Papanagnou wrote:
> Derek Ray wrote:
>
> (I cannot speak for your patch, I've not yet tried it.)

Experience with other games has shown me that everyone has a different
set of memories regarding what is "usual" in a game; the only source of
truly unbiased opinions are occurrences from actual play.

Just a thought.

>> The skilled players are used to defaulting to E as their "primary"
>> defense, rather than spending other resources,
>
> What would be an appropriate other ressource in that case to prevent the
> touch of death? A potion of hallucination?

That is one such resource, yes.

> Has a player *any* realistic
> chance to survive a liches' summon storm of mind flayers and minotaurs

First: mind flayers and minotaurs are only two of the potential monsters
that might be summoned. Yes, it's "summon nasties", but even "summon
nasties" can be more nasty at times than at others.

Second: no lich is guaranteed to summon, nor is it always a lich's first
attack. (Plus, a lich cannot summon and touch-of-death you at the same
time; which is it that he's going to do, anyway?)

Third: Yes, a player does, in fact, have a quite realistic chance to
survive while hallucinating, simply by killing _everything_ around them.
Most skilled players have a LOT of resources and ingenuity available
for this sort of thing. One of those resources remains Elbereth, which
while no longer 100% effective, will be far more effective than you seem
to think it will. (You had better engrave it before drinking the potion
though, admittedly.)

>> because E is extremely
>> cheap compared to those resources. I'd like to see how those same
>> players' ingenuity handles unexpected situations like this once they're
>> used to the concept of a non-100% E. At first it'll be a shocker, but
>> apparently it wasn't automatically non-survivable, so...
>
> The number of choices seem to me to be very very small. But I may not be
> proficient enough to play in the upper league and solve that challenge,
> granted.

Who knows? I think one thing is certain: none of us _know_ what will
happen until we try playing and see.

I can tell you this, though; in my own testing, I survived a polytrap
arch-lich in the Mines rather forthrightly. Dust Elbereth and beating
on him vigorously was effective enough to get me to the closest stairs
and down, which were about 15 squares away at the time. He did some
damage and did manage a single summon, but never did he actually
touch-of-death me.

On the way back I made it almost the whole way to the upstairs before I
finally got hemmed in by monsters and couldn't escape. Of course, this
was a very low-level character, so I didn't even have something so
simple as a cursed scroll of teleport to rely on... which could've got
me past him and out of the Mines. I didn't find a levelport trap
further down either, sadly. Did this suck? Yeah, a little, but I can
chalk it up to "extreme bad luck" in having the polytrap create an
arch-lich in the first place.

I'm not so sure the changed Elbereth is as ineffective as you all seem
to think it is. Some players are avoiding using it at all; I think this
is a mistake on their part, but we'll see how things go, won't we?

Derek Ray

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Jul 10, 2007, 7:08:09 PM7/10/07
to
sjde...@yahoo.com wrote:
> On Jul 9, 6:20 pm, Derek Ray <moot@just_a_spamtrap_anyway.com> wrote:
>> like that guaranteed wand is almost a necessity, given what the player
>> may encounter in Gehennom, but by the same token, I don't really care
>> for the way the wand can basically reduce the game to "OK, go win now."
>
> Yeah, that I can see. I like having a way to fill in gaps in items
> that are pretty much required, but there needs to be more threat from
> Gehennom.

This can (and hopefully will) be arranged.

>> So is it possible here that the problem is that an attack exists in the
>> game that _requires_ MR, no ifs, ands, or buts? Nothing that you've
>> said above is specifically relevant to my changes... _except_ that
>> Elbereth is no longer available as a 100% change.
>
> Right, previously the game had a solution for the MR-less. Now you
> need MR to assault the Castle;

Well... "need" might be a bit strong since purple Ls are all you really
fear at the Castle. I suppose golden nagas, too, but.

> the E change has made MR even more of a
> requirement than before. There's an instadeath that is randomly
> generated that no skill can account for now--you need to have found
> some sort of item (I think scare monster might work too) rather than
> there being a way to work your way out of the situation.

The efficacy of scare monster scrolls has not changed at all; this is
intentional as these are a limited resource, thus you should actually
get some bang for your buck with 'em.

> With regular L (or black dragons, etc) you can at least run away and

I don't recall E ever being effective against black dragons; in fact, I
found it counterproductive because they step back and breathe on you.

> otherwise keep them at bay if they happen to show up before you're
> prepared. The "teleport to you" combined with the "instadeath" is
> really the killer here--it's fine for Rodney, who you've had ample
> time to get resources ready for.

Sure, but is MR any less mandatory just because you need it for Rodney?
(See response to Riina, Martin, etc. Hopefully I can avoid repeating
myself in these threads. :)

>> Well, for a gnome, the armor is +2/+2/+2, giving them AC4 if that's all
>> they have. This is equivalent to a dwarvish iron helm, iron shoes, and
>> some token leather armor. (The boots are +3 right now and I'm going to
>> tone that back slightly to bring it in line with dwarf gear, since the
>> gnomish armor being leather is nice for a spellcaster).
>
> I guess it's just the sheer amount that does it for me--gnomes are all
> over the place. I often have to get a couple levels in before I get
> shoes and a helm from dwarves, and leather armor less common. It's
> not a huge deal, though.

Sure. But how useful is that armor to a non-gnome?

(And if you're a gnome, gnomes are _not_ as all over the place in the
Mines as they are for other races; the generation code changes so that a
lot more 'other monsters' show up.)

>>> Those gray F are _nasty_--I'm trying to interact with everything new
>>> to figure it out, and wasn't expecting that.
>> They don't move, so it's really more of a monster in the style of the
>> floating eye -- you die to it once, learn "Those are bad", and then
>> you're discouraged from casually snowplowing everything you see. It's
>> generally just going to be some token flavor, though.
>
> Yeah, I like them--it was just a surprise. :-)

Well, yes. I can imagine. =)

ran...@pactechdata.com

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Jul 10, 2007, 7:52:40 PM7/10/07
to
[Subject changed; no longer about Sporkhack.]

On Jul 9, 7:56 am, Janis <janis_papanag...@hotmail.com> wrote:
[ about a "reminder" message which gets annoying when overused ]
> I've got similar feelings already with Nethack's "bulky armor"
> message.

FYI, that's been changed. It is now [or will be... :-] only
given when the monk's armor penalty affects the attack outcome.
If you successfully hit despite the penalty, or would have missed
anyway without the penalty, there'll be no message. So the "your
armor is cumbersome" message might still be annoying sometimes but
it will be conveying more useful information.

Janis Papanagnou

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Jul 10, 2007, 7:57:08 PM7/10/07
to
Derek Ray wrote:

> Janis Papanagnou wrote:
>
> Also, Gehennom is irrelevant to the discussion so far, which has been
> entirely about it being too hard to reach the Castle wand as a
> last-ditch source of MR.

Right. The proposal to restrict the purple L's to Gehennom would make
any restricted covetous teleport change obsolete, then? (We wanted to
prevent instant touch of death incidents.)

>>but I cannot quite see what
>>problem this would solve WRT the MR/Elbereth effect.
>

> [...]


> It was pointed out that arch-liches teleport to you immediately and can
> cast 'touch of death', which seems a particularly nasty and 'unfair' way
> to die in light of the changes to E. So, having arch-liches not
> teleport to you in a single turn would certainly mitigate this problem,
> and frankly, by the time the player typically encounters arch-liches, I
> expect the player to have more resources available than just a means of
> reliably engraving Elbereth.

But wasn't all that just a problem WRT lacking MR, which is, as you
pointed out above, not any more a point once you got to the castle and
got your guaranteed wish to obtain MR.

Janis

Janis Papanagnou

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Jul 10, 2007, 8:31:37 PM7/10/07
to
Derek Ray wrote:
> Janis Papanagnou wrote:
>
>>Has a player *any* realistic
>>chance to survive a liches' summon storm of mind flayers and minotaurs
>
> First: mind flayers and minotaurs are only two of the potential monsters
> that might be summoned. Yes, it's "summon nasties", but even "summon
> nasties" can be more nasty at times than at others.

Sure they're not the only one, they are just two prominent examples to
illustrate two potentially fatal attacks (in addition to the purple L's
fatal attack).

I try to explain; usually I have not 300 HP's (just to name a number),
rather 80 (or so) at times I reach the castle. Non-hallucinating I try
(i.e. maybe, depending on my options) to get rid of the minotaur first,
because he hits extraordinary hard and can kill me in _very few_ turns
and does not respect Elbereth! So it is no choice, as you suggested
below, to "kill everything around"; you simply wouldn't survive such
an approach - well, you would maybe, but I wouldn't by that proposal -
because you cannot target specifically the minotaur while hallucinating.

> Second: no lich is guaranteed to summon, nor is it always a lich's first
> attack. (Plus, a lich cannot summon and touch-of-death you at the same
> time; which is it that he's going to do, anyway?)

Sure, that's not in question. The point is that you need to, e.g., make
yourself hallucinating to prevent the one fatal L attack, but are faced
with the summoning storm which will most likely be also fatal (because
of the extraordinary attacks from the nasties) while you hallucinate. It
doesn't matter in which order the spells happen; you *need* to protect
yourself from the _fatal_ one, in the first place (and try to survive
the other attack with hopelessly reduced chances).

> Third: Yes, a player does, in fact, have a quite realistic chance to
> survive while hallucinating, simply by killing _everything_ around them.

No, that is not a practical choice, as I think to have made apparent above.

I don't say that a skilled player might not survive a purple lich, a very
skilled one might even survive one at the Castle level without MR; there
may be one or even many, but I just don't see any feasable counteraction,
yet.

> Most skilled players have a LOT of resources and ingenuity available
> for this sort of thing. One of those resources remains Elbereth, which
> while no longer 100% effective, will be far more effective than you seem
> to think it will. (You had better engrave it before drinking the potion
> though, admittedly.)

And you have to perma-engrave it to be able to fight.

IMO, the perma-engraving might be a better suited feature for a change.

Janis

Janis Papanagnou

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Jul 10, 2007, 8:37:21 PM7/10/07
to
ran...@pactechdata.com wrote:
> On Jul 9, 7:56 am, Janis <janis_papanag...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> [ about a "reminder" message which gets annoying when overused ]
>
>>I've got similar feelings already with Nethack's "bulky armor"
>>message.
>
> FYI, that's been changed.

Thanks :-)

> It is now [or will be... :-]

When? [*]

Janis

[*] Okay, it was just a try ;-) You would likely have given me
an answer like "with the next version", anyway, I suppose.

Derek Ray

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Jul 10, 2007, 10:01:18 PM7/10/07
to
Janis Papanagnou wrote:
> Derek Ray wrote:
>> Janis Papanagnou wrote:
>>
>> Also, Gehennom is irrelevant to the discussion so far, which has been
>> entirely about it being too hard to reach the Castle wand as a
>> last-ditch source of MR.
>
> Right. The proposal to restrict the purple L's to Gehennom would make
> any restricted covetous teleport change obsolete, then? (We wanted to
> prevent instant touch of death incidents.)

Not necessarily. Plus, everyone seems to want me to make sure that
polymorph traps and gain level potions don't result in a purple L, and
_that_ I am not willing to do.

>> It was pointed out that arch-liches teleport to you immediately and can
>> cast 'touch of death', which seems a particularly nasty and 'unfair' way
>> to die in light of the changes to E. So, having arch-liches not
>> teleport to you in a single turn would certainly mitigate this problem,
>> and frankly, by the time the player typically encounters arch-liches, I
>> expect the player to have more resources available than just a means of
>> reliably engraving Elbereth.
>
> But wasn't all that just a problem WRT lacking MR, which is, as you
> pointed out above, not any more a point once you got to the castle and
> got your guaranteed wish to obtain MR.

You may have noticed the post in response to sjdevnull where I mentioned
that I don't like the silver bullet approach either. Making a
guaranteed way to obtain MR before meeting monsters that MR largely
neutralizes strikes me as very silver-bullety; not the way I intend to go.

As I've said elsewhere, it seems to me that one major problem is that
covetous monsters simply appear next to you before you know they're even
on the level. Slowing down the speed of arrival would certainly
improve things.