Home Forums Development Musing about Magic Weapon Class

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  • #6237

    owen
    Participant

    Hello,

    Since there are a few spellcasters in the game (vampires, shamans, and the keeper), I was wondering if “magic” weapons such as staves could become a more refined part of the game. Just as there are many different classes of “normal” weapons (one handed, ranged, two-handed), I think there could be classes of magic weapons such as wands, staves, sceptres, and so forth.

    I think this could be done without adding any new creature attributes if:

    • “no magic weapon,” “no ranged weapon,” and “no two-handed weapon” traits are created (this has been suggested on the wiki already)
    • A “one-handed” weapon is taken to mean a normal weapon like a knife or a sword (i.e., not a staff)
    • The existing dexterity (but NOT the strength) attribute controls a minion’s proficiency with a magic weapon

    So you could have:

    • Physically weak but adept spell casters (high DEX, low STR)
    • Physically strong spell casters (high DEX, high STR, but no two-handed or ranged weapons
    • Infantry units like orcs, ogres, etc (high DEX, high STR, no magic weapons)
    • Universal soldiers (high DEX, high STR, no restrictions on weapons)

    Conveniently, the existing formula to compute a minion’s level (c1*STR + c2*DEX) would still make sense.

    Okay, so now on to the types of magic weapons. I’ve thought of a few types:

    – Staves: A staff is like the assault rifle of magic weapons. It is the primary weapon that a spell-caster would carry and they need to be equipped to be used. A staff has 100% accuracy (unlike ranged weapons and melee attacks) and it must be cast at a target. It has two statistics: power level and charge battery. A (9/2) lightning staff, for example, would deal 9 + DEX damage, and it would have two charges. Charges slowly replenish over time. A staff can be augmented by a scroll of weapon enchantment.

    – Sceptres: A sceptre is like a staff, but it functions like a normal, ranged weapon in that it can only be shot along a diagonal and it is affected by a minion’s accuracy stat. Like a staff, a sceptre must be equipped and it has two statistics: damage and charges.

    – Wands: Wands are magic items that don’t need to be equipped and require some minimum level of dexterity to operate (which can be as low as 0). A wand has several charges and once it is depleted it disappears. Wands have effects and they are aimed at targets like staffs (so they always hit), but no damage statistic.

    – Orbs: An orb is technically not a “magical” item, so it can be used by ordinary creatures, but it otherwise functions like a wand. Because of their accessibility, orbs don’t have overly powerful effects.

    That’s all for now. I don’t know if you had some system for magic weapons in mind, but hopefully this can provide some ideas.

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  owen.
    #6252

    Thanks for bringing this up. Recently I’ve been thinking of reworking the combat mechanics a bit, so I might use some of those ideas.

    My goal is to have a rock-papers-scissors relation between different fighter types. This gives the player a lot of decisions to make in recruiting troops, assembling the right team, re-positioning during combat, and so on.

    For example, if we have staves or other magical attacks, they could presumably bypass armor, and be effective against heavily armed warriors. But to be good with magic, wizards themselves can’t wear any metal armor, which interferes with spellcasting. So they would be prone to conventional ranged attacks, and so on.

    I’m not sure if the R-P-S relation should be the same regardless of who’s the attacker. In some tactical games there are units that have a big advantage if they attack first, and have an appropriately weak defense. In KeeperRL though, with tile-based movement, these kinds of advanced rules may not work too well.

    “no magic weapon,” “no ranged weapon,” and “no two-handed weapon” traits are created (this has been suggested on the wiki already)

    I think using skills for that would work best. There would have to be some changes regarding how much use you can make of a weapon without having the right skill (right now it is still a lot). But I wanted to fix that anyway.

    The existing dexterity (but NOT the strength) attribute controls a minion’s proficiency with a magic weapon

    Hmm, maybe. But I don’t see a problem with adding another attribute dedicated to spellcasting. I’m not really sure if we need magical weapons at all, maybe just let the magicians cast their spells?

    #6253

    owen
    Participant

    Okay, good points. As usual, I have a lengthy discourse followed by another proposal. So that things are easy to find, I’ve replied to what you’ve said in this post, and then I’ve presented a new idea in the next.

    Hmm, maybe. But I don’t see a problem with adding another attribute dedicated to spellcasting.

    I suggested to use dexterity simply because I thought it would be less complicated than defining (and programming) another attribute. If you do add another skill, however, I would suggest making it general, maybe like “intelligence” or “adeptness” rather than “magic power,” so that this new stat would apply thematically to non-magical creatures. For example, an orc might have a skill called “Focus” which increases its strength in proportion to the orc’s intelligence. Similarly, there could be a scroll of increase intelligence, for example, and it would augment both shamans and fighting units.

    I’m not really sure if we need magical weapons at all, maybe just let the magicians cast their spells?

    Well, we don’t “need” weapons. It would be good in some respects if a whole new class of weapons weren’t added to the game, particularly since you’ve already programmed in the skill-based rather than item-based magic.

    However, I wasn’t suggesting to add magical weapons for the sake of adding more things for the player to craft; rather, itemizing spells in the form of equipment allows the player to strategically allocate spells to different casting units. The biggest beef I have with spell-casters right now (aside from a lot of the spells not being very helpful) is that everybody gets the same package of spells. This really lowers the replay value of the game and it doesn’t make the player think about how he has to allocate spells to units. In addition, some spells don’t really help the spell caster very much (i.e., I don’t care if my orc shaman gets a strength boost; as it is now, his primary role is healing things that can actually do damage).

    I think it would be more interesting if each spell caster could learn a half dozen spells at the very most, and the particular playthrough had some bearing on which spells he could learn. In addition, “non-magical” creatures like harpies could also study, but they wouldn’t learn the same things that “magical” creatures like shamans, for example, would learn. I also think that the number of total spells in the game should be huge (like in the hundreds), but that you should only see a subset of each spells throughout the game. There can be many similar spells (maybe several different spells that start fires, in some way), but as long as they’re all a bit different, it makes the game much more fun to replay.

    #6254

    owen
    Participant

    So then, here’s another proposal for learning spells. This one doesn’t use magic weapons or items at all. It also involves what the game calls “skills” (e.g., knife throwing), so I’ll collectively refer to spells and skills as “abilities.” Here’s the idea:

    – The total number of abilities in the game is brought up into the hundreds.
    – Some creatures have some natural abilities along with their natural traits…
    – … but most abilities must be “found” on the world map as books that must be retrieved and stored in a library tile. In order to accumulate this knowledge, the player must constantly grow his library.
    – Once in the library, an ability can be studied by a minion. Just like crafting, learning takes time and the player has full control over what he wants to teach to whom, but minions can only learn so many skills and they take their knowledge to the grave, so study wisely!
    – Every ability that is found has a tier (e.g., basic, advanced, expert, master). The “sorcery” research items are still present in the research tree, but they no longer grant a package of spells and they are renamed to “abilities.” In order for a minion to study an ability of the “basic” tier, “basic abilities” much be researched. (This is simply to prevent the player from being able to use an overpowered ability early on in the game; Brogue does this by making heavy weapons require lots of strength, and FTL does this by making powerful weapons require lots of energy to use). It’s sort of like how you can build a forge, but you still have to research “two-handed” weapons in order to make a battle axe.
    – Certain abilities are restricted to certain types of creatures. (Yes, this means that there will be thousands of potential creature-ability pairs that need to be defined. But I or other people could help to define these pairs if need be)
    – Naturally, the player is only going to see a small subset of the available abilities in each game. This is what helps to make each replay a bit different.
    – As a subtle point, floors affect learning rate, and once an ability is placed inside a library tile, it’s magically bound to that bookshelf forever!
    – This system could also be extended to crafting stuff. Eg: the recipe needs to be discovered on the world map, and then learned by a specific unit.
    – Beasts probably wouldn’t be able to learn new things by studying because they can’t read. In this case, you could recruit a proxy unit (e.g. satyr, centaur) who could learn abilities and teach it to the beasts. Or do something else clever like that. idk

    All of that covers how abilities are learned. But it still doesn’t cover how powerful an ability is going to be, or how much its cooldown is. If an ability is scalable, then it will do so as a function primarily of the attribute values of the creature. As I said earlier, I would suggest borrowing from MOBAs and creating an abstract attribute called “intelligence” or “ability power,” which would be used by most abilities to determine the scaling power of the ability. However, some simple abilities might be independent of this ability power stat (e.g., a stat boost ability which simply multiplies an attribute by some constant factor for a short period of time).

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  owen.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  owen.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  owen.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  owen.
    #6262

    – … but most abilities must be “found” on the world map as books that must be retrieved and stored in a library tile. In order to accumulate this knowledge, the player must constantly grow his library.

    This I like. I want to add more elements that need to be ‘brought in’ to the dungeon from the outside world.

    If you get a minion with some ability, is it able to pass it to other minions or do you still need to get a book? Is there a limit on how many minions you can teach with a single book (aside from the individual ability/minion constraints).

    the player has full control over what he wants to teach to whom

    So a new UI similar to crafting? Would minions do any learning automatically or all of it needs to be micro-managed? (I imagine that if there is a limit to the number of abilities per minion then it shouldn’t be automatic).

    I don’t like the fact that you need to do additional research on top of finding abilities. Maybe just add minion level or stat requirements per ability?

    #6263

    owen
    Participant

    If you get a minion with some ability, is it able to pass it to other minions or do you still need to get a book?

    Generally, one book can teach infinitely many minions (but maybe some books have limited use). When one of the player’s raiding parties comes home, it would drop any books that it has collected at the entrance to the dungeon just as it does with all of its other loot. The only difference is that books get placed on library tiles instead of going into general equipment storage.

    Would minions do any learning automatically or all of it needs to be micro-managed?

    When you want to assign an ability to a minion, you would do so from the minion inventory window. Let’s say an orc has a free ability spot available; you click on the free ability spot and tell it to learn “strength boost.” It goes over to the library tile that has the strength boost book inside of it and it starts training to learn strength boost.

    I don’t see much point to automating the learning process. I suppose that you *could* make an addition to the immigration UI panel that tells X creature to automatically learn Y ability when recruited, but idk if that would be of much use.

    I don’t like the fact that you need to do additional research on top of finding abilities. Maybe just add minion level or stat requirements per ability?

    This would work, too, and it would be less tedious than waiting for a minion to explicitly train a new ability like I suggested. I just think that minions should have a limited number of ability slots (maybe they get more as they level up).

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  owen.
    #6265

    Keeperman
    Participant

    I think technology should exist in books that are not possible to research for yourself in the library. Especially the most powerful versions of spells.

    Only when you find the master sorcery book you get the more advanced spells.

    You could put more basic level spells in the library to be researched. Eg. Add basic necromancy for your Vampires etc.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  Keeperman.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  Keeperman.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  Keeperman.
    #6270

    owen
    Participant

    That’s a possibility. Maybe researching basic sorcery, for example, will also automatically give all of your creatures access to a complimentary package of basic spells that don’t need to be found. The way I see it, the game is going to have a large number of spells that will all be divided into “tiers” (e.g., basic, advanced, expert, master, to use the existing terminology). Any spell of any tier could be potentially found on the map, but by researching “basic sorcery,” it would be like giving you a one-time of bonus of 4-6 complimentary basic spells. Perhaps these are the same 4-6 basic spells each game or perhaps they are different each game.

    Only when you find the master sorcery book you get the more advanced spells.

    To be clear, I was suggesting that “master sorcery” (or “master abilities,” as I think it should be called) should still be researched at the cost of mana, but the individual spell or skill is what you would find in all of these books that are littered around the world map. So, even if you found a really powerful spell early in the game, you wouldn’t be able to use it immediately because you haven’t “unlocked it” in the the tech tree.

    But maybe a cleaner way to do what I’m describing would be to require that “good” spellbooks can only be placed in higher-tier libraries (so we could have wooden shelves, iron shelves, steel shelves), which would be unlocked with ironworking/steelworking. So if you found a powerful spellbook, but you only had wooden shelves, you’d have to wait until you unlocked steel bookcases. So, then you wouldn’t need the “sorcery” research branch any more. Well, it’s just another idea. If you think it’s horrible, I won’t take offense :p

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  owen.
    #6272

    owen
    Participant

    Well, just one more variant on this system of augmenting furniture with items:

    – Say that instead of finding “books” scattered around the world, you find “magical artefacts.” (e.g., a finger bone, a small statue, a broach, a mandrake root; there could be a dozen of these items).
    – These magical artefacts have the property that they can be “fused” with a particular piece of furniture.
    – Once the artefact has been fused with a piece of furniture, it unlocks a new trainable ability.

    As an example:

    Say I discover a mandrake root, I can choose which furniture item to fuse it with:

    – Fuse with a wooden book case -> spell of healing can be studied from that bookcase
    – Fuse with a work bench -> leather gloves of dexterity can be produced from that work bench
    – Fuse with a wooden training dummy -> Dragon punch can be learned from that training dummy
    – Fuse with a wooden beast cage -> Burrow can be learned by your beasts

    … you get the idea. The player gets an item that will upgrade his ability pool in one of several ways, and he tries to make the best choice possible. A better tier of the same piece of furniture will yield a different (usually better) tier of spell. And you could even make it so that fusing multiple items to a single piece of furniture will do stuff.

    The neat thing about this idea is that you could make the fusion combinations random on each game (sort of like how colors were randomly assigned to potions in the original Rogue). Only once you build a piece of furniture (or a better tier of the same type of furniture) will you be told what the outcome of a fusion with an artefact will be. All that would need to be defined in the code is “X ability requires fusion with Y piece of furniture.” Because mana serves as a power-curve regulator by the fact that it can only be generated through killing things or waiting around (thereby exposing yourself to increasing levels of danger as the world grows stronger) by limiting the type of furniture that can be built, stronger abilities will not be accessible until later in the game.

    Okay I think i’m oout of ideas now

    #6291

    We’re certainly on a good track here. I wonder if it wouldn’t be better if the ability/artifact (let’s call it rune here) was single use and could be fused either to a minion or piece of equipment. You’d be making decisions on which minion to power up. Fusing with equipment would mean that more minions can use it and you don’t loose the ability when a minion dies (there would have to be a downside to offset that). Plus you could create custom artifacts, which is cool.

    Fusing would be subject of extra logistics, like having an appropriate forge tier for a rune. Some runes could only be fused to rings, others to weapons or to creatures. And of course excess runes could blow up a weapon or a minion’s limb.

    Minions would sometimes randomly learn abilities up to some level while training or studying, so you wouldn’t have to be searching for runes all the time to get anywhere.

    #6295

    owen
    Participant

    … was single use and could be fused either to a minion or piece of equipment. You’d be making decisions on which minion to power up. Fusing with equipment would mean that more minions can use it and you don’t loose the ability when a minion dies (there would have to be a downside to offset that).

    If the individual minion is augmented instead of the production facility, then I think individual minions must able to be micromanaged more precisely. If runes are supposed to be rather precious items that need to be conserved if the player is to have a chance at winning, then I would probably never spend a rune to upgrade a minion that was not leading my party for fear of losing it due to bad AI decisions. I’d probably not want to spend it on a piece of equipment that wasn’t under my control either, because equipment often cannot be retrieved, at least for the time being, if the minion who holds it is killed.

    #6296

    Keeperman
    Participant

    I like the idea of fusing to the production facility.
    Could you fuse the runes to a production queue? Current production queues are:

    Library
    Workshop
    Forge
    Laboratory
    Jeweler
    Steel Furnace

    There is a production queue screen already 🙂

    —–
    ps. Do “Sorcery” and “Keeperopedia” still belong on the production queue screen?

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  Keeperman.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  Keeperman. Reason: post script
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