Turdak's Sanctum, YASD and ramblings

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Re: Turdak's Sanctum, YASD and ramblings

Postby Ferret » Mon Nov 23, 2015 5:51 pm

:D Don't worry, I played in the DCSS tournament myself. I hadn't played much in almost two years, wanted to see what had changed... that and the buddies I used to play with wanted me on their "we're gonna do our best" clan. (Our best, as it happens, is about 34th on the clan rankings. :P )

I can commend them for some changes, such as getting rid of monster-induced item destruction (which largely resulted in obligating the knowledgeable player to do annoying interface dances) and starting to provide more information about what monsters do.. but I don't think they've gone far enough on what info they provide yet, and they still refuse to fix some ridiculous things like the utter tediousness of the Abyss.

Anyway, enough about DCSS. :D

Snuff Out is really fun. :) I've gotten in the habit of teaching it to characters who have even semi-reasonable Magic scores and otherwise don't use a lot of SP: the AI's fairly good about knowing when to use it... unfortunately, that does apply to enemies too. :D Not that I like seeing players die or anything (at least, not more than the average roguelike dev), but I am glad that low level monster encounters are sometimes still challenging. :P

Breath skills are tough to use, and they are tough to tweak AI for too. Basically, the AI hates "wasting" AEs and it also hates "wasting" cooldown abilities. What it ends up working out to in a breath attack's case is, the AI probably won't use it unless it's going to hit 3+ targets. Some mitigating factors can change this however: AIs at low health stop caring much about wasting cooldowns, for example, and AIs always love to land killing blows if possible, for another example.

Orb/Mind/Frost is a solid start. I suppose in theory zombies would be an issue, but zombies are never really an issue, and not much else naturally resists both Ice and Mind. :) Indirect + can't miss attacks are fun, especially AEs that are somewhat or completely ally friendly.

Sorry you never caught uniques to use the Golds with. :( I agree Slap Silly > Headless though. :D Getting something like that worked into the DNA pool of your party is fairly game-changing, probably the equivalent of scoring a really good character-appropriate artifact early in DCSS.

Low Profile shouldn't be letting enemies shoot over allies... however, any Dodge/Miss result (not just a Dodge caused by Low Profile specifically) allows a projectile to continue, so if your allies had other Dodge abilities or high Agility, those would still let projectiles through.

Chain "kill 1 enemy quickly" capturing probably needs to go. It gets used like this with Haietliks and Zombies too. I have a small system idea for stopping it... but I loathe adding even a small system just to address a problem with 3 captureables. :P I''m more likely to just tweak those captureables so they operate a bit differently in a way that diminishes the ability to "catch and release" them over and over when they show up in groups.

Thank you very, very much for the feedback about the new maps/encounter system. :) I'd been wondering how it was working out in the wild, and it's a difficult thing to pick up on from the limited metrics I get back with the scores. :D

As for what stats do what and where:

If it does damage (including instant death) it will check Strength or Magic depending on whether it is Slash/Impact/Pierce or Fire/Ice/Elec/Body/Mind/Light/Dark. Note: No stat reduces damage taken for the target.

If it applies any kind of effect other than immediate direct damage or instant death it checks the user's Cunning, and is resisted by the target's Vitality.

Both of these rules apply regardless of the composition of the ability. Infectious Bite checks Strength for the damage and Cunning for the chance to Infect. If Blood Rot triggers, that also checks Cunning.

Some other things worth noting:
* Level is a significant factor in damage & healing dealt.
* Items ignore all stats... both the attacker's and the defender's. However, they tend to have unusually high Power and chances to land status effects, in effect making them act like abilities used by very high Strength/Magic/Cunning characters, regardless of the actual stats of the user. (Resistances and Heroic Defense still apply, however.)
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Re: Turdak's Sanctum, YASD and ramblings

Postby wizzzargh » Tue Nov 24, 2015 7:16 pm

Another Turdak's Sanctum snuff out death! In my defense though, this wasn't a case of simply underestimating Chindi. No, this was actually two double encounters that I inadvertently turned into a Quadruple encounter!

I ran into a intersection with a Zar/Atua pack coming from below and a Will o Wisp/Chindi pack coming from above. I think I could have beaten this, but I decided it would be safer to retreat a ways back to the exit so I could escape if things went bad, seeing as how I had Mind vulnerability. This turned out to be a mistake, because on my way pack I was flanked nigh-simultaneously by Turdak and his girls on the right and an Akateko pack from the left. Since I had dismissed my demons to save them from the Atua and Chindi that were still chasing me, I decided I'd cut down the Akateko by linking with them and just run to the exit, while summoning my Psychic Easg saint for Turdak to gnaw on. Unfortunately, the Akateko I linked with were butchered in moments and then I was slowed and debuffed, with no demons summoned, and 4 slightly depleted packs of monsters hot on my tail. For a moment I thought Diehard would let me survive long enough to summon my healers/blockers but then I was snuffed out. Ironic how my caution led me from a dangerous situation into a completely lethal one.

This run I was a Titan's Fist with Stunning Blow, Clobber, and Frost Veil, starting with a Redcap (I've been doing random characters, Titan's fist is probably my least favorite just due to how much mind debuffs suck). I also ended up failing an Asrai and Centaur link this run, which spread Distrust among the demons. Luckily I didn't really want to recruit anything at that point, so it wasn't a big deal.

This was a very HP-stable party, drawing more from the Zombie set of skills than my usual Goblin-dodge strategy(though before I became such a HP leech I was actually using Evade Step and Ghost Pierce to work as a dodgemaster). I had Leech Bite, Flesh Eater, Soul Eater, Gluttony, and Bloodthirst, and Diehard, and most of my front liners were similarly composed. My healers were a bit unusual, drawing upon on Draw Wounds and Life Siphon in addition to Healing Charm, and it seemed to work really well. I had a Charged Chindi with Storm Breath+Electrocute and a Fiery Kasha with Fire Breath and that seemed to be sufficient for softening up packs of enemies enough to get my strategy of 'kill an enemy, entire party heals from eating their soul and corpse, continue killing' working fast enough to keep everyone at full health.

I felt like I was going to run into problems soon though- almost my entire party was Holy-Vulnerable, and I know angels were just about to start showing up in the Tower.

Overall a pretty fun run, I never imagined turning a Gandayah and Ilomba into such fun support demons, and while Me/Violent Zombie/Headless/Will o wisp were basically all the same variation of slightly dodgy vampiric frontliner, the Charged Chindi and the Fiery Kasha were great fun as well. It's funny, after all that discussion about 'breath skills are hard to use' I got to use them all the time. Haunt was great for teleporting in and using Storm Breath, and the Swiftness of the Kasha let it get into good positions as well.

I gave Diehard to lots of my demons but I'm still not sure how it works, especially given how most my party was at high HP even at the end of battles and I didn't take chances and desummoned them if they got too low. From what I've seen of Headless vs West it seems like it's basically Death's Door from DCSS, but I don't know how long it lasts or if it can be overpowered by normal damage in addition to Snuff Out/Poison/Ignite damage.

TYPO REPORT- Looks like Bloodthirst is misspelled as Bloodthrist.

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Re: Turdak's Sanctum, YASD and ramblings

Postby Ferret » Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:06 pm

Looks like another good run. :)

I've tweaked how quickly enemies jump into in-progress fights a bit in the next build... you may still get some quick joins, but hopefully they'll be a little rarer than they were, even before this report I was noticing them a bit more often I wanted in my own games (since they're functionally not much different from old-school double encounters.)

Yeah, Turdak's Sanctum is a rough place for Weak: Mind. It's filled with Atua and Zars, even if you have a demon with Calm, they might get overwhelmed by the sheer regularity Panic lands on a Weak: Mind character. I've considered changing Titan Fist's weakness, but the only other one that really makes sense is Lightning, and people hate that because of Raichos. :P Maybe Light? That's an easy burden to bear early game, but mid game when you start hitting significant Light-based threats it could get ugly. I may just need to see if I can address them from the ability end... which, with a content push coming up, this is a good time for that. :)

Lifebenders (what I call healers that use Life Siphon/Drain abilities + Draw Wounds) can be very nice, if non-traditional, healers. :) Draw Wounds presents obvious difficulties, but on the other hand, you get a healer who is also dealing damage. This sort of healer is also fun to play as a main character, I've found. The Vodun Mask offers some interesting starting builds for folks interested in trying that out, in fact. :D

Light is one of the last elements to show its teeth in the Tower, but yeah, Turdak's Sanctum marks the point after which it soon begins showing up with its A game. Holy groups tend not to kill quickly, but if you have a significant amount of Weak: Light in your party they will be able to play and win the long game against you.

Diehard prevents you from dying to direct damage, setting you to 1 HP instead. It can work even if you were already at 1 HP, but it has a chance of going on cooldown each time it triggers: this chance is based on how much damage (as a % of your MaxHP) it had to eat to prevent your death. Thus, heavier hits have a higher chance to trigger the cooldown, having more than 1 HP reduces the chance (since it had to prevent less damage to keep you at 1), and having higher MaxHP also reduces the chance of it triggering (since any damage you take is compared to this as a %), etc. Of course, once it's on cooldown, it is no longer effective and you will die the next time you get hit.

Bloodthirst typo fixed, thanks. :D

Some Demon comments:

Will o Wisp: No Swiftness?! :P

Chindi: That Chindi was probably doing some very good work. Charged raises Magic significantly and Chindi are already high on Magic, so those nukes were probably hitting like a truck. :D

Headless: Diehard and Reshape share a cooldown, if you put them both on one demon, it will usually Reshape and invalidate Diehard (since Endure cooldowns don't regenerate during combat... unless you have a certain passive, that is!)

Vile Ilomba: Ilomba are great candidates for Lifebender style healers. The extra Speed is nice. They also tend to respond well to modifiers like Vile, they're roughly average in both physical and magical attacks on their own, so an appropriate modifier can help them specialize either way you like. :)

"Smokum Joe": Yax will be thrilled to see he is not the only person to make this association with Gandayah :P
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Re: Turdak's Sanctum, YASD and ramblings

Postby wizzzargh » Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:35 pm

Ooh, I never thought about swiftness interacting with Ghost Pierce...

Just played another 2 more random games, one a generic Healer with Weigh Sin who died ignominiously after meeting too many Echeneis and Malingee to build a team, and a hexer-type with Expose Host, Distract, and Alluring Gaze who made it to tower:7 with an unusual team. I ended up dying trying to fulfill a Centaur link- I thought I remembered Heroism giving HP regen but alas that didn't seem to be the case, only giving increased SP, and I had sacrificed my Healing Charm a few fights earlier to recruit a Frigid Chindi (who promptly got splattered) so I didn't quite have enough staying power to tank through 3 faeries and 3 centaurs. Or rather, to spam Mephitic Cloud or whatever the skill name is that staggers people in a direct 3x3 area while the Violent centaur did all the work. That skill, from a Vile Preta, promulgated throughout my demons and it was great to spam over my body immune Will o Wisp and Chindi. I almost died to a pack of 6 Zar that had bunched up into 2x3 corridor and started leaping over my defensive line to pounce on me once the Noxious Bursts slowed down, but I managed to use a Red Essence to save my bacon from the panic/stun spam. Maybe I should stop giving all my pure stones to demons...

I had a great duo of Goblin and Wisp who picked up Crusading Cut, Protecting Cut respectively and Parry, so between that and the dodging they had great staying power and much improved offense from the standard Wisp/Goblin arsenal. When the goblin died I moved towards a more Ghost Bite + Noxious Burst(again, the stagger-cloud skill whose name I don't remember) styled party, which was pretty slow to kill anything but didn't allow the enemy much chance to strike back. Given my relative lack of healing this game, that was very useful.

I ended up Matrixing Headless to the Wisp when Headless was about to die and I needed a new slot for demons anyway. I think this is the first time an Echeneis lasted past floor 3 with me- once they get a few more HP they're not so bad, and sacrificing a fire-rat to the fish made it a pretty solid elemental attacker. Speaking of Wisps and Echeneis, the little fish seem to be the natural counter to beating the Wisp pack in Tower 1 1/2, could this be the main reason Headwind exists?

I think the Atua was better off before I made it Frigid, since it didn't get any ice skills to do much with so it ended up just being mediocre at its usual job. Plus, I taught it healing charm and Noxious Cloud so the poor thing just had too many active abilities and not even Tireless could give it enough mana to do everything.

Thanks for the clarification on Diehard. Too bad I didn't read your post about shared cooldowns earlier, I could have avoided the embarrassment of getting both Alluring and Maddening gaze :roll:
The 50% faster stamina regeneration from that elemental Hero was pretty great for this style of debuffer character.

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Re: Turdak's Sanctum, YASD and ramblings

Postby Ferret » Wed Nov 25, 2015 6:15 am

Yeah, Swiftness is nice on Wisps, it's basically a permanent +20% Speed. :) You have to keep them to just Ghost Pierce + free actions if you want it to work, but it's good stuff. :)

I'm happy someone tried a Fetid Burst (that was the ability you kept trying to remember the name of :D ) build, maybe even more so because you stumbled into it mid-game. (If you ever want to try it from the start, it's available on the Mask!) You pretty well identified its main strengths: many things are immune to Body making it easy to get allies who can ignore it safely, and it can work as debuffing-style alternative to healing. It's still nice to have some healing for emergencies, but Fetid Burst can definitely carry a lot of this weight... except when fighting undead groups that resist/ignore it, anyway. :)

:D I'm glad you used Headless' unique matrix modifier too. Unique modifiers tend to be very good, but not many people use them because... well, you're sacrificing a unique. :D That's how the Wisp got the buff slashes + Parry you mentioned earlier I'm guessing?

As for Echeneis vs. Wisp: It's not the main reason Headwind exists... but it's one of the big reasons Headwind exists on a starter monster. It isn't otherwise very useful on melee Ice attacks, but is a very solid ability combined with AE/Ranged nukes, especially if multiple characters have the setup... though you tend to need a way to stay on top of the SP costs too, ranged nukes are pricey. :)

As for the Atua... yeah, sometimes modifiers wiff. :( It's the equivalent of getting a Scroll of Acquirement, asking for armor, and getting a +3 animal skin, I guess. :)

Alluring + Maddening actually isn't 100% a waste... maybe only 95%. :P There are enough subtle differences between Panic and Charm where the AI will sometimes make a deliberate choice between the two. That said.. yeah, it's still at least 90% of a waste. :P

I'm glad you're enjoying playing a variety of styles of characters/parties. :D Wouldn't be much point in all these abilities if they weren't good for something. Thank you very much for the frequent reports. :D Maybe one day there will be lots of people posting like this, but for now I'm happy to have even the tiny handful I do. :D Thanks again!
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Re: Turdak's Sanctum, YASD and ramblings

Postby Galthaar » Wed Nov 25, 2015 11:49 am

Yeah, I have to agree mind weakness sucks on Titan´s Fist summoners. Perma-sleep and confuse against some enemies is not fun at all. I got "sleeped' until death every time I encoutered liliths.
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Re: Turdak's Sanctum, YASD and ramblings

Postby Ferret » Wed Nov 25, 2015 3:45 pm

Hmm.. might be more a problem with Mind status effects than Mind weakness? Every weakness is supposed to be scary, but it's not hard to imagine the being weak to the crowd control element being particularly frustrating. I might switch it to Weak: Electric for this build coming up while I think on this more. Granted, plenty of demons are still Weak: Mind, but demons aren't players.
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Re: Turdak's Sanctum, YASD and ramblings

Postby wizzzargh » Thu Nov 26, 2015 5:20 am

The mind weakness is annoying but I don't think it cripples Titan's Fist or anything. Just means that a demon that can cure those status effects(or just an inventory full of pure Stones I guess) goes from 'meh' to 'very useful,' and against Mind-creatures (Lilim and Zar in particular) you might want to consider hanging back and letting your demons do the dirty work rather than closing in yourself.
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Re: Turdak's Sanctum, YASD and ramblings

Postby Galthaar » Thu Nov 26, 2015 11:33 am

wizzzargh wrote:The mind weakness is annoying but I don't think it cripples Titan's Fist or anything. Just means that a demon that can cure those status effects(or just an inventory full of pure Stones I guess) goes from 'meh' to 'very useful,' and against Mind-creatures (Lilim and Zar in particular) you might want to consider hanging back and letting your demons do the dirty work rather than closing in yourself.


Trouble is you cannot use pure stones or do anything while you are sleeping, and you have to pray that your demons use a cure at the right time. I´m not saying it´s impossible, but it´s very annoying to be asleep for all the battle even if you survive.
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Re: Turdak's Sanctum, YASD and ramblings

Postby wizzzargh » Thu Nov 26, 2015 8:35 pm

You know I've already beaten Turdak's Sanctum once, and one day I'm sure I'll do it again. BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY!

I decided to slap Turdak a few times to up everyones Accuracy with Inspiring Cut and then see if I could Hex him with Witch Cut, and then I got paralyzed, 50 Ember Bursts and Fire Breaths rained down upon me, Acheri choked me to delay my turn even more, and I imploded before I could do anything (though I had plenty of turns before that where I got softened up, so it's not like it was actually instadeath or anything). I'd bet if I had had my Faerie out instead of my fancy centaur just prancing around in the back I would've been fine, or at least alive enough to use my Wind card.

I had quite a few interesting demons this run, though my actual character felt kinda feeble. My Witch/Inspiring Cuts were fairly inaccurate, didn't do much damage, and I only got enough Cunning to reliably Hex people fairly recently (though Hex is great). Starting off with Inspiring Cut then retreating to cast Mending a few times was a decent way to support my party though, and this character used to be pretty self sufficient with Flesheater and Gluttony letting my Faerie focus on healing my other demons. I felt like I reached a significant upgrade with the Solid Carbuncle I found, picking up Triad Ward, Block Physical, and Mind Reader (though I hadn't reached Block Physical yet for my character, I was able to spread it around my demons).

As usual, two of my longtime players were a special Chindi and a special Zombie picked up in 1 1/2. The dark and light cooldowns on the Holy Chindi were a little at odds with one another, but Holy Word did a lot of work and the Chindi inexplicably seemed to really enjoy using Punish as a Snuff Out-lite. So it was a versatile guy with great resistances.

I burned through a few Faeries this run, but I eventually sacrificed a Gandayah to create a Lifegiver Faerie and got regenerate and mending, which was pretty good. Regenerate is a healing skill that you can teach to fighter demons without warping their offensive AI too much, it seems.

I had a Redcap for an inordinately long time, but I used a Mind Matrix to get rid of the Redcap and quickly soup up an Aspis that I got. I had a lot of Ghost Bite with this party, mostly thanks to a Violent Zombie that also contributed Numbing Bite, another great melee move. Also managed to get Diehard into the party movelist before Headless died to something dumb, which was good.

The Deadly Centaur was just a regular Centaur I sacrificed my high level Malingee to. So far it seemed really good, but I couldn't help notice how much of my party was weak to Mind (Not pictured- obligatory dodge-goblin). Speaking of Mind vulnerability, I definitely spent a few fights snoozing thanks to Lilim, but once I bit the bullet and avoided melee combat I found a great way to keep Lilim packs under control was to send out a zombie to steadily gnaw away at their health, and then whenever they put my Aspis to sleep I'd just whack my own demon with Inspiring Cut to wake it up and give someone an Accuracy boost. I actually removed Poison Veil from the Aspis just so I could slap it awake more often without poisoning myself, which i found hilarious.

By the way, please don't take all these 'died in Turdak's Sanctum' as evidence that it should be nerfed or anything. I think it just shows up at a point where I've gotten complacent with my demons and I tend to make lazy decisions. Plus, my desire to keep playing far outweighs my desire to reach the end of the existing content!

I used two skills that I normally ignore quite a bit this game- Dash and Low Profile. I went through a phase of using ranged combat more than usual with a goblin frontliner, and since I had a Redcap so long I spread Dash to quite a few of my demons. Closing to melee quickly is nice in the deeper dungeon where ranged attacks are so common, but mainly Dash was nice to have on my character. Getting out of bad situations, repositioning without wasting turns, chasing down all the pursuit links- Yessirree, I think Dash might be worth picking up more often.

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