• [YASD] Cthangband

    From Igenlode Wordsmith@21:1/5 to All on Wed Aug 12 11:04:00 2015
    On 7 Aug 2015 Eddie Grove wrote:

    Igenlode Wordsmith <Use-Author-Supplied-Address-Header@[127.1]> writes:

    I always enjoyed Cthangband (the old non-skills-based version) as the most >> playable of the 'wilderness'/new races variants, and the multiple dungeons >> make it possible to level up characters scarily fast -- if you survive.

    Do you think there is any good way to get most of what you like about >multiple dungeons in a Vanilla context?

    For example, there could be multiple stairs in town heading to different >depths, so the genereal idea is at least somewhat feasible.

    One approach would be to have themed blocks of levels, perhaps fixed or >perhaps varying game to game.

    Part of the interest/excitement of multiple dungeons plus wilderness is that the danger/inconvenience factor of traversing the wilderness (or sheer ignorance, when first encountering the game: the dungeons don't come with
    help files!) can lead to entering dungeons for which the the very first
    level is wildly out of depth, simply because they happen to be near the town you are in...
    (I think Cthangband got it about right as to wilderness size: a relatively limited number of towns, none of which are more than about two screens
    apart, and a relatively high frequency of monster encounters, dangerous more for lack of available cover than for being high level relative to the
    player. The later Zangband wilderness was just silly and got tedious in practice -- presumably an ASCII imitation of more graphics/map-heavy
    strategy games?)

    I think part of the point about multiple dungeons in Cthangband is to
    provide an additional motive for travelling between towns (for example, the
    end dungeon is in a town which you really wouldn't want to travel to otherwise), while Scrolls of Recall help provide a happy medium between challenge and boredom: you have to walk to the desired spot originally, but then you can easily recall between that dungeon and a useful and/or nearby town. At any rate until you exhaust the town's resources, but at least you
    have the chance to explore another town rather than scumming.

    Without towns/wilderness I imagine something similar could be done, however.

    For example, another feature of Cthangband is random quests for each
    dungeon in addition to the themed 'dungeon guardian' at the bottom of each:
    at start-up, certain levels are assigned quest monsters, and as soon as you
    get down to that level you have to kill, say, ten cave orcs (or some
    suitably out-of-depth non-breeding opponent) before a down staircase is
    created allowing you to proceed further. Like many of the other features of Cthangband, the overall result of this is to allow you to level up faster by throwing extra danger at you early on: the final quest monster also drops
    OOD loot, so completing your first quest will give a low-level character a massive boost, providing that he survives it!

    I'm not sure how well this would necessarily work for a single dungeon,
    since you wouldn't have the option to abandon that dungeon and try another
    one if the random quest monster for that level was something that your character turned out simply not to be able to handle yet...

    You could have sets of stairs in the town (or a town service?) that gave short-cut access to levels well below the standard staircase -- or perhaps
    have them always defined to lead to a level ten or twenty levels below the current recall depth. One of the advantages of multiple dungeons is the
    chance to dash into an insanely dangerous area and perhaps scoop up some unknown valuable loot or kill some fragile OOD monster and score massive points, while gambling that you won't get cut off from the stairs that allow you to retreat.

    But this isn't Vanilla -- we're talking about the potentially unbalanced high-risk-high-return approach that Cth inherited from the early Z variants, which probably doesn't play very well alongside a slow-and-steady single dungeon approach.

    Likewise the 'tower' and 'arena' dungeon levels: potentially lucrative
    (easier to find loot), potentially lethal (harder to escape monsters).

    Themed dungeons (e.g. the Yeek Lair or Khufu's Tomb as opposed to, say, the Vault of the Sword -- Elric's Stormbringer! -- or the Collector's Cave,
    which are simply very high-level dungeons) are quite interesting, but I
    could see them getting very boring in a single-dungeon context. Five or six levels all dominated by orcs or undead? Again, that could be a major hold-up
    if you had a character who didn't do well against that particular monster
    type, even though the themed dungeons contain ample numbers of 'ordinary' monsters as well.

    Basically, I think the excitement of Cth 3.1.x is created to a great degree specifically by its compressed dungeon format, where higher levels are much closer to the surface and there are relatively few ordinary levels: it's
    almost designed for quick play (and quick death, if you're unlucky) and
    happens to be reasonably well-balanced along with that. Though it may well
    be extremely exploitable by someone who knows what he is doing: I'm far from being an experienced high-level Angband player, and one of the attractions
    of this variant is that it provides me with an opportunity to see some of
    the high level stuff that I never normally get anywhere near. And die :-)

    But I've got characters up to clevel 40 in Cth -- wielding Stormbringer is
    an actual possibility, if you hit the Vault of the Sword with a high-enough level character, and then you can go for the really lethal dungeons -- and
    I've never been anywhere near that in Vanilla. I've never got near any of
    the serious nasty Cthuloid stuff, mind you... I suspect it's just a totally different power balance, possibly over-powered but fun to play, and I think multiple dungeons are an inherent part of that but not necessarily the
    source of the fun.

    Igenlode Visit the Ivory Tower http://ivory.vlexofree.com/Tower/

    * He who loses his temper has lost the argument *

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