Sunday, September 4, 2011

Skeletons, zombies and other undead

This evening I finally finished the code for monster templates in JADE. It's now fully functional, has quote a number of bells and whistles (which already are being used) and was created to be able to add very flexible undead.

Generally the idea in JADE is to have a lot more interesting monsters than in ADOM. "Interesting" here should mean: "Requiring various tactics in order to be able to defeat them". This partially already is fulfilled by monsters in ADOM but since there is a lot more detail in JADE, this also should allow for a lot more tactical possibilities by the player.

Templates allow me to take existing monsters and graft new ability packages (and deficiencies) to them. Undead are my first example as they will be a lot more varied in JADE. Just think about how different an ogre brute zombie is from a goblin rockthrower zombie although both share all the special powers of zombies.

For now undead share a number of abilities (which will get expanded over time as more options and abilities get added to the game):

  • They are immune to confusion, stunning, diseases and poison.
  • They do not need to breathe.
Additionally each type of undead tries to be different from the next.

For skeletons this means that they are hard to damage by fire, very hard to damage by electricity and somewhat difficult to damage by acid (lacking most of the vital parts allow these kinds of damage to be highly effective). Additionally they are very hard to damage with piercing attacks and slashing attacks cause but one-half damage. Finally most of their metal equipment will be rusty, probably causing blood poisoning at some point. They are somewhat quick but not very robust.

Zombies in contrast are slow but very strong. They lust for brains and usually can only be destroyed by damaging their brains... which game-wise means that non-critical phyisical damage will only hurt them up to a certain point... beyond that point only critical hits will have a chance of destroying them completely.

Ancardian zombies do not cause zombie rot, BTW, as this IMHO is too brutal. Zombie lords might be a different story, though.

Next up are ghuls which - except for the common features applying to all undead - will be the first reason to add paralysis effects to JADE. Then we slowly get to the attribute draining, flying, aging and in many other regards very nasty higher power undead... so much interesting stuff.

The only shame is that priests, religion and divine magic still are a number of versions aways...

Oh, and did I mention animal undead :-) ? No? Oh well... you will meet them early enough ;-)


  1. I like the idea of having to critically hit a zombie to kill it. You could have the zombie somewhat neutralized when you get its health down low enough by making the zombies speed directly proportional to its health.

  2. Love it. Only problem I see though is how to do the monster descriptions for the modified beings. ADOM's Monster Memory is really cool, and helps to immerse oneself to the world - I'd like to see it in JADE, too.

  3. I really like these ideas, but a goblin rockthrower zombie seems odd, since presumably rockthrowing is a practiced skill that's no longer available after the goblin is killed and its corpse is reanimated.

  4. I agree with the above. Maybe, if the undead gain so many intricate features making them harder (mostly) to kill, maybe they should be "equalized" among their kind as skills, knowledge, and emotional states they had in life no longer have an effect on their battle power? Finally, as creatures without intelligence and proper sensory organs, zombies' and skeletons' perception should be low, and they should be easy to hide from.

    You're implementing some seriously cool features though, can't wait to try 0.1.4!

  5. Oooo, animal undead! Nice update.

    Also seconding the Monster Memory comment, one of the things I really enjoyed in ADOM was reading monster bios in the Monster Memory!

  6. Maybe the goblin rockthrower zombie would just bash you with the rocks? :)

    As for monster memory: I think that there could be a basic monster memory for main creatures, but as for all the modifications, one solution would be that if you encounter something that has no monster memory, you get a chance to write your own and upload it for approval -- and if it's good, it will be incorporated in next version.

    So, if I remember my undead from the Czech D&D clone, you have skeletons, zombies, ghouls, next up are ghosts (noncorporeal, haunting place of their death), wraiths (more corporeal than ghosts, could be very territorial, i.e. for example only attacking you in one specific room), mummies (wrapped in bandages, sickness, very flammable), fexts (magically invulnerable, so very hard to damage), specters (attacking the mind, draining stats etc.) and vampires. Others include:
    Shadows (slow but persistent stalkers, a shadow could disappear and reappear when you don't expect it, even several dungeon levels later)
    Husks (the animated skin shed of insects, and maybe snakes). Husks are magically toughened to the point where they are stronger than the original insect.
    Dullahans (humanoids who carry their heads with them)