Wednesday 4 March 2009

Hallucinatory Healing

It's always a pleasure reading about people playing your game - and one of the more enjoyable players is HallucinationMushroom. Hallucination is a melee specialist - that is, he doesn't play the game using any tactics other than melee, so it was especially gratifying seeing Orcly the Gladiator figuring out one important Unangband melee tactic (see the link for details). The Angband ladder at allows you to upload your character and make regular progress reports and my co-developers and I are always quick to respond with advice and encouragement should you upload an Unangband character.

One thing Hallucination has highlighted is that there is not enough healing items for a warrior player in Unangband - or at least the frequency of drops needs to be adjusted. Unfortunately, this could affect game balance, because Unangband mages are well-balanced by not having a healing spell which allows them to recover more than 300 hit points at a time, and too readily obtained healing items would render this disadvantage meaningless.

I've written about healing in Angband before and one of the items I suggested be made a more powerful healing item was potions of Berserk Strength. In Unangband, these heal 30% of your hit points when quaffed, but prevent you from casting spells or using ranged attacks for a limited duration afterwards (it also alters your combat stats in various ways).

It seems to me that the best way to balance the additional healing items would make them similarly constricting for mages.

One idea would be to reduce the player's mana in return for some reasonably powerful healing effect (there are items which do the reverse already). Perhaps a scroll of Contingency which drains all mana in return for a teleport effect and 50% hit point recovery. Often times you want to both heal and teleport in the same turn - but the drawback is significant enough that you'll only use this as a last resort (unless you're a warrior, of course).

Another would be a timed healing effect, with a drawback that prevents you from casting spells until you are fully healed. I was thinking of a silence effect, perhaps calling it Solemnity, but it's equally tempting to create a mixed effect mushroom of Hallucinatory Healing.

Or it might just go to his head. (Edit: As Nick points out, HM has dug himself out of trouble before).


theotherhiveking said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
theotherhiveking said...

What about healing a X amount based in your stats?

say... (str + cons) * (wis/4).

Every stat is important. I hate 5 int warriors.

Lets say you have 18 str, 16 cons. 12 wis.

34*3 = 102 hit points.

Take stats often average in mages and use low multiplicators/divisors.

For example: low level pot.

Str/2 + wis (would heal about 20-30 hitpoints at low levels, it wont be very efective later anyway....

High level:

str*2 + cons*2 +int + wis.

Ben said...

This reminds me of Fallout 2, which made side-effect-free healing items (stimpacks) quite rare. Very common, instead, was the tribal "healing powder" which would heal a small amount you but temporarily injure your perception (a necessary stat for ranged attacks) with every dose. Thus, melee characters could make up for the extra damage they take, because they could afford to "bring the feeling of sleep to their head."

Andrew Doull said...

Um... nice theory, but the fractional difference in hit points healed won't significant enough a difference.

Anyway, int 5 warriors are differentiated enough in Unangband already (poor throwing and device use).

Nick said...

Probably HMs most memorable exploit isn't on the list (as it was done before he had a forum ID), so here is a link. I will not describe it - it needs to be seen.

Andrew Doull said...

Thanks Nick. Knew it had happened. Couldn't find the link.

Unknown said...

Why not change healing drops based on player class? That way you don't have so many constraints to balance for fun play.

theotherhiveking said...

tyrecius: I agree with you, doesnt seem to be a very 'elegant'solution but i like it.

Unknown said...

Wow, I'm very honored to be mentioned in your blog. I check it about once a month and was delighted to see this post.

Hallucination Healing? Hmm. Yeah, that would go to my head. :) I was walking in the woods and gave it some thought... I think mushrooms of hallucination could give bonuses to wisdom and perhaps intelligence. You know, insight into the otherverse, or something like that.