Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The hand of Fate in ADOM II

Going back to a suggestion by Glen Oberman a couple of days ago (which again went back to a comment by Jacob..., probably in a discussion on Facebook - I couldn't find it here) I changed the whole way good and back luck work in ADOM II. And I'm happy about the new way.

Luck (or rather "Fate" as it internally is called) now is a sliding scale represented by a single integer value. A positive value indicates good luck, a negative value bad luck. Whenever Fate should influence a being in the game a random value is applied to the roll, ranging from 0 to the current fate modifier (so the modifier is positive for good luck and negative for bad luck). What is new is the way in which the overall fate value is discovered:

  • Each being starts with a 0 (nobody is particularly lucky or unlucky by itself).
  • Each cursed item that is equipped lowers that value by 0.5.
  • Each blessed item that is equipped increased that value by 0.5.
  • Fractions in the end are dropped, so you need to have two blessed or cursed items to get a real modifier.
  • The well known intrinsics (lucky, very lucky, cursed, doomed) modify the value by a constant (usually +4, +8, -4, -8).
  • Other factors also will shift your position on the scale (e.g. star signs, piety, ...).
The basic effect thus is that it is no longer possible to be both lucky and unlucky, the code for that has become trivial and I just can begin to heap modifiers on players for doing "something".

As a sideline I noticed that Fate was not yet applied to some situations in the game (e.g. combat, attribute tests and skill tests). This has been fixed, too. DevState records this addition, too.

The drive to change the implementation was actually spawned because I wanted to implemented a scroll of luck during breakfast and noticed that I did not like all the special case handling in classic ADOM.

What do you think?


  1. I think that being doomed should still be way worse than Fate Smiles (or Very Lucky) is good, but there was some advantage to special cases. In ADOM, being doomed was noticed in all stages of the game, simply because you couldn't counter that increased item destruction, the monster generation, and getting eaten in the dark. If doom ends up being simply a modifier that can be balanced out relatively painlessly, it wouldn't feel very much like doom at all.

  2. I like it more than the old Luck+Fate+Cursed+Doomed system, but I still don't like the fact that you need two blessed (or cursed) items equipped in order to count. It looks too arbitrary to make any sense (from a player point of view).

  3. Looks better than the old system, that's for sure :) Much more modifiable.

    Some ideas that it brings to me are:

    Dungeon floors with luck modifiers (what if the Casino, for example, was enchanted to lower

    the luck of everyone there except the employees?)

    Amulet of fate ignorance that would set your total luck to zero (or at least draw it towards


    Teleport control -- if a character is lucky enough, even random teleport could deposit him

    exactly where he wants to, which could be represented as a random chance to allow for teleport

    control. On the other hand, for a character with a bad luck, teleport control could fail even

    if he has it. Or random teleport could deposit him in the middle of nest of monsters (even if

    there was no such thing on the floor before).

    Astrology skill which could help the character to identify his "lucky" and "unlucky" days.

    (And/or astrologers in towns.) Perhaps various races could have their own superstitions of

    what brings good or bad luck?

    Some truly fun things if the characters gains absurd levels of luck (both good and bad) --

    usually only possible by magical means and for short time:
    Items materializing under his feet for good luck.
    Small chance to spring trap on every step even if there originally was no trap (bad luck).
    Hostile monsters generated nearby (bad luck).
    Hostile monsters simply not noticing you (good luck).

    Could also affect things like searching for items -- if a given item is supposed to be in a

    multi-section labyrinth, very good luck would mean you stumble on it in the first section, and

    very bad luck that you'll only find it after thorough search of the whole labyrinth.

  4. I like the way you've refined luck/fate... But I also liked how in ADOM you could be blessed AND cursed, and how cursed/doomed always had a worse effect then blessed/fate smiles.

    My suggestion is that instead of one bar, which measures good luck/bad luck, what if we had one bar for good luck and one bar for bad luck? So I might be +12 lucky, but I might also be +10 unlucky (and because bad luck is always worse than good luck, this is worse than just being +0 good luck and +0 bad luck!). This way you can be both blessed and cursed at the same time, like for example if you were a champion of chaos (blessed by the gods, but wearing cursed armour).

    Certain things might increase good luck while not touching bad luck, and vice versa. For example, finding a four-leaf clover increases good luck, but breaking a mirror (walking near a mirror while having a low appearance score), or killing a black cat/karmic creature increases bad luck. If it's Friday the 13th in the game, bad luck is +50 for the day. If it's Creators day/New Years Eve in the game, good luck is +50 for the day.

    Some situations might only consider bad luck, or only consider good luck. For example, the chance of being eaten by a grue in a dark place is only interested in how much bad luck you have, and ignores good luck. But seeing a shooting star and making a wish - the chance of the wish coming true depends only on your good luck.

    Some other suggestions:

    - Potions of balance: Also moves your luck back towards equilibrium.

    - Scroll of destiny/scroll of just desserts: Completely removes all of your bad luck! But, the way it completely removes all of your back luck is by having all of your bad luck happen at once! If I have +5 bad luck, it might make me midly sick, and lose some money, but the bad luck is gone and at least I'll get better later. But if I have +50 bad luck, it removes the bad luck but summons molochs, poisons and sickens me, and other bad effects! It's not a scroll you really want to use, but it does give you a way of getting rid of bad luck if you really don't want it. If reading a blessed scroll when you have +0 bad luck, gives you a small amount of good luck.

    - Jinx - A spell that enemies can cast which increases your bad luck for a long duration

    - There should be a corruption that has the only effect of giving you bad luck ("You sense stormclouds on the horizon")

    - Just seeing a black cat gives you minor bad luck, even if you don't fight it ("black" is a prefix that only cats can have: black wild cat, black cave lion, etc).

    - I really like Marek14's idea of an amulet of fate ignorance - would be really useful in certain situations. Needs a better name though - I would call it the 'amulet of choice' (because it nullifies luck, ie, your "destiny").

  5. In the same way as cursed and blessed items will still no doubt carry extra intrinsics than just modifying the characters Fate (like being unable to take them off etc), I think that fate smiles and doomed should still have an affect on how the game behaves. They would cancel each other out in terms of how Fate treats you, but monsters will still spawn more often etc if you are doomed.

    I say this because I quite liked how you can be both blessed with good luck (avoiding hazards) but equally have a doomed destiny (have more hazards thrown in your way). It isn't really an oxymoron to be both at once because of how people perceive luck, its bad luck to have bad things happen (like being in a train crash), its good luck when you avoid the bad things affects however (like walking away from said crash without a scratch on you).

    I do still like the idea of having a Fate attribute which affects things directly, more so if you can get finer grades of influence over it than just binary attributes, just so long as actual intrinsics like Doomed actually do something more than penalise it.

  6. I'm not convinced luck and bad luck need separate attributes. However, I agree that Doomed should be harder to negate - my math suggests having 16 blessed items would completely counter it? In ADOM I, you could have 11 items equipped I think?
    In short, I like the principle, but I think some of the math could do with adjustment. Plus perhaps a threshold bad luck value for *bad stuff* to occur (e.g. grue instadeath etc) could be included?
    +4,+8,-10,-20 for the main states, where any value below -15 provides the classic *bad stuff*. For instance.

  7. I forgot to mention that: E.g. doomed definitely does more than just influence your luck score. Influencing your luck score is just one of several effects.

    Overall I like the idea of special effects occurring for very high / low luck scores... even if only very rarely.

  8. Oh, and for cursed the modifier now is -8 and for doomed -16 :-)


  9. How about Temple of Doom location where you get doomed while you're in there? :D

    And will luck affect dungeon generation? With good luck, you could have some special "good" features generated occasionally, like up and down stairs in the same room.

    Another idea -- what if the "doomed" intrinsic, apart from worsening your luck, also halved any positive luck modifiers? Similarly, "fate smiles" could halve negative luck modifiers. That would make them very relevant no matter how much luck the character already possesses.

    As for the amulet, how about calling it "amulet of loose thread"? Since fate is often represented as threads weaved in a tapestry :)

  10. I love Marek14's idea for race-based superstitions. Maybe dark elves believe it's bad luck to kill a spider that's not hostile. Or Hurthlings get bad luck from letting a corpse rot away while it's in their inventory. (I can certainly see Hurthlings having a superstition that it's bad luck to waste food.)

    Maybe some class-based superstitions as well. Suppose Archers believe it's bad luck to pick up arrows from an enemy that still lives. Or Tinker believes it's bad luck to take a dead man's tools. Maybe Monks believe it's bad luck to eat meat.

    You could even have character-specific superstitions. Suppose you go to a fortune teller that tells you it's bad luck to kill a centipede. Behavior that previously had no affect on your fate now does.

    While my mind is working, I think that piety should have an effect on fate - after all, someone who is in good standing with their god can expect a little divine nudge to the dice roll once in a while.

    For that matter, I can see class-specific piety behavior. Maybe Priests are expected to fast one day a month. Or a Druid must pray after cutting down a tree.

  11. Amulet of fate ignorance could be called "Amulet of Determinism". ;)

  12. Call it "plain amulet", or better yet, "boring amulet".

  13. Trying to expand on some things I was talking about before, there are now two extra luck statuses besides "Lucky/Fate Smiles/Cursed/Doomed/Blessed". Now you can also be "Jinxed" and "Hexed" which are statuses that enemies can give you.

    How you can get it: Spell that is cast by imps/leprecauns/satyrs/witches and stealing from an old lady has a minor chance of jinxing you (the lady mutters under her breath as you leave, but otherwise remains unhostile). Or from a trap/cursed treasure/trapped treasure chest (Hey, I just realised... ADOM actually doesn't have treasure chests!)

    What it does: -2 to fate status. Additionally, it can make the following effects happen:
    - If you kick down a door, 20% chance that door falls on you (minor damage)
    - 10% chance of falling down stairs (minor damage)
    - When using a potion/scroll/wand or eating food, 5% chance that instead of doing the action you clumsily drop the item instead ("The wand flies to the north-east")

    How you get it: Spell cast by enemy wizards, mummies, sphixes (and eqyption-themed monsters in general)

    What it does: -10 fate penalty, but only to a specific type of action. For example -
    - Attack hex: -10 fate penalty for all dice rolls relating to attacking enemies
    - Defense hex: -10 fate penalty for all dice rolls relating to taking damage
    - Item hex: -10 fate penalty for all dice rolls relating to items being destroyed (when you are hit by a fire attack, electricity attack, explosive runes in trapped door, etc)
    - Skill hex: -10 fate penalty for all dice rolls relating to skills (first aid, climbing, survival, etc)

    You could also have

    "Death Curse"
    How you get it: Fighting very powerful wizard/sorceror/lich enemies (ideally unique ones, with names). Killing one of these has a minor chance that as they die they will curse you with their dying breath. (If you REALLY didn't want to get a death curse, there are plenty of ways to get around this including being deaf, killing them when they are too far away for you to hear them, or having something else (a trap, monster etc) strike the killing blow).

    What it does: Only a -2 fate penalty (increases to -3 after one year). But the main difficulty is trying to get a death curse removed. Death Curses can't be removed through normal means, the only way to get rid of the curse is to do a quest relating to it - maybe:
    - Take the bones of the wizard to a specific resting place and give an honourable burial
    - Seek forgiveness from a family member of the wizard
    - If the wizard was part of an organisation, destroying that organisation
    - There might be ONE specific NPC somewhere in the world, who might know how to undo that particular death curse. Doing a quest for them.
    - Back at the wizards hideout, he might have a scroll or formula that removes the death curse.

    Just a couple of things to think of! I think if there aren't many extra ways to get back luck, it might be too easy for PC's to maintain good luck...

  14. Psychopanda: Amulet of determinism? But isn't fate (either good or bad) a limitation on your future, and therefore a form of determinism? This means that it would be actually the amulet of indeterminism since you could go against your fate :)

  15. Marek14: Oops, I had that wrong. I had my theories backwards, what I should have proposed was "an Amulet of Free Will"

  16. Oops, I forgot to mention for "Jinx"...
    - When using a scroll or reading a book - 10% chance of papercut (causes bleeding).

  17. I'm thinking there's a great many ways to use good/bad luck creatively as a part of how the game world pans out for you. People have suggested interesting things such as letting it partake in the dungeon generation. Not impossible to implement I imagine adjusting probability of say a shop appearing or like marek suggested up and down staircases in the same room or whatever.