Sunday, February 26, 2012

Updated professional abilities for barbarians in ADOM II

As usual the feedback to my initial ideas about special powers for barbarians has been excellent. As a consequence I have changed quite a bit of the details and moved around several powers. Thanks for the great inspiration - and now that I have added true berserkering, too, even more flavor was possible.

Here we go with the new list of abilities for barbarians:

  • mighty blow (damage doubled, energy cost 250%; quadruple damage when fighting as a true berserker) at level 1 if barbarian is the main profession, strong blow (1.5 times the normal damage, 250% energy cost; triple damage when fighting as a true berserker) while multi-classing
  • +1d4 extra hit points per level starting at level 3
  • +4 to toughness at level 6
  • tremendous blow (triple damage, 400% energy cost; six times damage when fighting as a true berserker) at level 10
  • energy cost for movement reduced by 20% at level 15
  • +10 to strength at level 21
  • +15 to damage when fighting with berserk tactics (+30 as a true berserker) at level 28
  • quintuple hit point recovery when fighting as a berserker (10 times standard recovery rate as a true berserker) at level 35
  • immunity to confusion, paralyzation, stunning and sleep when fighting as a berserker at level 50
  • +30 to speed when fighting with berserk tactics (+60 as a true berserker) at level 75
  • +30% to critical hit probabilities when fighting with berserk tactics (+60% as a true berserker) at level 100


  1. Awsome!!! Can't wait to get my rage on in the next update!...You should just release it today I don't mind incomplete buggy stuff too much ;). This makes me really excited to see what you do with tradition adom classes, and also for what might await with classes unique to adom II, Keep up the good work... SO EXCITED!!!

  2. True berserking has never been truer.

    Some clarification, that level 3 power, is that +1d4 hitpoints per barbarian level, or +1d4 hitpoints per any level? I'm assuming the former, since if it's the latter, that's a whole lot of hitpoints for anyone who starts out with three levels of Barbarian before doing anything else!

    I think the main exit point is going to be level 28 or 35, depending on just how powerful the character's hit point recovery is. Thinking of ADOM, the maximum rate (lots of troll blood) was 1 HP per five turns, so a true berserker with maxed out natural regeneration tops out at 2 HP per turn, which is pretty sweet, but not that awesome if you're going to rely on it for survival! If you're an already slow-healing race, say, dark elf, you'll barely reach 1 HP per two turns even as a true berserker. So you'll PROBABLY either exit at 28, with its hefty damage bonus, or stay in it all the way to get the really good stuff at level 75 and 100. Not to discount the possibility of a level 50 exit, but that depends entirely on how easy it's going to be to get these resistances with items - though, admittedly, if the items in question ("boots of flexibility" as the main paralyzation resistance item, for instance, as opposed to the old amulet of free action) conflict with true berserking, getting these immunities could mean the difference between having to settle for regular berserk bonuses and the really sweet true berserking ones. In any case, if a character sticks around for the 15 levels to get the immunities, sticking around for 25 more sounds barely ok.

    Other likely exit points are level 1 (the new Strong Blow is rather spiffy in true berserk mode, so a level of Barbarian may benefit anyone, keeping in mind that true berserking is a major concession), level 6 (six levels for Strong Blow, 4d4 hitpoints and four toughness? It's possible), level 10 (8d4 hitpoints, four toughness and tremendous blow for 10 levels - an excellent melee combat kit, I think!), level 15 (13d4 hitpoints, four toughness, tremendous blow, AND increased movement rate to help fleeing and ranged combat, for only 15 levels). Not sure if 6d4 hit points and 10 strength justify taking another six levels, so I think characters who take 21 levels would also go for 28.

    In conclusion, there's always just a little more awesome to be gotten for a few more levels, so the Barbarian will definitely end up factoring in multiclassing considerations.

    For the record, I still don't agree with the spacing of powers past 35. In ADOM, the class powers were spaced 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8 - You never had to wait for very long to get your next class power. In ADOM II, it starts out quick-paced - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 - and suddenly goes 15, 25, 25. Add to this that leveling usually gets slower as it goes on, since the xp required increase on a logarithmic scale, and I think you'll be getting a severe dropoff in excitement at level 35. Even if you go all-out on the usefulness of level 50, 75, 100 stuff - and with the Barbarian, you certainly did - that's a lot of essentially dead levels. Even if, objectively, a bunch of awesome immunities is worth taking 15 levels for, is it worth taking 15 levels if you get nothing until you have them, where other classes will add lower-level bonuses faster that will help you survive? More importantly, however - is it FUN to take these 15 levels? Is it fun to have to take the 25 levels at an astronomical xp rate until you finally, finally get to the full awesome? I'm just not convinced it is. I'd dial down the awesome just a tad and space the stuff at 9, 11 and maybe like 15 for the awesome capstone, for a total level of 70. But I'm not the guy with the vision and the proven record in roguelike and RPG design - just a random internet commenter - so I'm totally ready to be proven wrong.

    1. I also generally agree with Silfir's notion to take a look at things from this vantage point---I'd have little concern that the Barbarian, and all the other existing and forthcoming classes, could have a large enough assortment of class powers to help people stay engaged and especially serve to fully flesh out the experience for those that don't multiclass for whatever of the valid reasons they might choose.

    2. I honestly have to admit that I also don't know the correct answer to that. I guess this will need some experimenting to get right. One of the effects of multi classing in ADOM II is e.g. that you need more experience to advance the more classes you have. So to advance to 10th level is a lot more costly if you have taken several classes before doing so when comparing the required amount of experience to someone who is working in a single class. So there already are checks and balances which try to consider the trade offs ;-)

    3. Perhaps some class powers, such as the strength and berserk damage boni could scale, so you always get something when you level, instead of just large boni infrequently.

    4. will "confusion, paralyzation, stunning and sleep" be of any concern on level 50? It is probably not in ADOM (save for Andy), so this power would be pretty useless most of the time.

    5. On the contrary, paralyzation is one of the few things that can really screw you up even on level 50. So is confusion, actually. Only very, very few monsters paralyze in ADOM and those who do do it in melee (emperor liches paralyze, for instance, which is part of what makes them so deadly), but there's no reason it would stay that way in ADOM II.

  3. The main problem is true beserking and multiclassing. You want to make all multiclass combos complimentary, but a barbarian can't take advantage of the Fighter's +PV bonuses, and the Fighter can't take advantage of the barbarians true beserk, without giving something up.

    My suggestion is (maybe not for the next release!) that we have Barbarian camps as a new village type. It mainly consists of a spiked picket fence and makeshift huts, and they're constantly on the move - you might see one north of the river for a few months, then not see one for half a year - only to find that exact same camp in a mountain valley much later. Anyway, one of the services they offer is converting armour into barbarian armour - this costs 30% of the cost of the armour, and reduces the PV by 30%, but it can now be worn during true beserk.

    For example, I have some Plate Mail of Resiliance [-1,13] that I want to wear while true beserking. I take it to the barbarian armsmaster and he will convert it for me for 5000 gold and 2 dire wolf pelts (kill 2 dire wolves). When he's finished (he basically just rips out some plates and adds extra spikes!) I have Barbarians Plate Mail of Resiliance [-1,9] that I can wear and still take advantage of both my Level 1 Fighters ability, and my Barbarians true beserk abilities.

    There are exceptions (you can't convert Elven Chain or seven leagues boots). Horned Helmets, Spiked Gauntlets and [Equipment] of Rage can still be worn without penalty. SOME artifacts can also be converted (and it would be nice if there were a few artifacts had the ability 'can be worn during true beserk').

    "Trophies". Take a corpse to the Barbarian camp, and they can convert it into a trophy (ie, they tar the head, stick it on a spike, and you wear it on either your shoulder or belt slot). Ogre trophies give you strength bonuses, quickling trophies give you speed, and you also get bonuses in combat against that creature type, and a chance to cause fear. Perhaps several corpses can create a 'greater' trophy, with bigger bonuses.

    My ability list (as usual, I like lots of little ones instead of a few big ones!)

    1: 1d3+1 hit points per level if main profession, +1 hit point per level if not (compare this to the Fighter's Level 1 ability, I think it's a good contrast).
    3: Mighty Blow
    6: +4 Toughness
    10: Tremendous Blow
    15: 20% movement cost reduction
    21: +10 strength
    30: +12 damage beserk (+18 damage true berserk)
    40: Intrinsic minor resistance to mind control/sleep/slow effects (Barbarians are stubborn. I just imagine a barbarian staring down a charging army and saying "No. You move." Barbarians can still get confused or stunned though)
    50: DOUBLE hitpoint recovery beserk, TRIPLE true berserk
    60: Intrinsic ice resistance (Barbarians always love the frozen north)
    70: +30 Speed berserk (+45 true berserk)
    80: Much reduced to hit/damage penalties at other tactics levels
    90: +30% critical bersek (+45% true beserk)
    100: Barbarians do not die straightaway if they are in negative hit points at true berserk!*

    *How does this work?
    - If you are in negative hitpoints, you can still survive a little longer (Which makes sense when you think of the 'lore' of barbarians fighting even after mortal wounds, and only dying after the adrenaline rush fades away).
    - You have to take a toughness test every turn to see if you stay alive (ie, [Toughness stat] + 1d20 to see if you survive, with 1 = always failure and 20 = always success)
    - The difficulty of the toughness test is ([amount of negative hitpoints] * [number of turns in negative hitpoints]^2). For example, 2 turns at -21 hitpoints means you need to roll above an 84 in your toughness test.
    - If you change to any other tactics type while at negative hitpoints, you immediately die from shock!
    - If this seems overpowered for a lvl 100 ability, remember that rolling a 1 on your toughness check is auto failure, so rely on this at your own risk!

    1. I don't think that having certain classes that don't play well with others in multiclassing is a problem, I think that's natural.

      Barbarians are supposed to be brutes that don't like to wear much armour, and fighters are supposed to be combat technicians that optimize their equipment, so I don't find it surprising and undesirable that (some of) their class powers are opposite/incompatible. Sometimes you have to make choices, and it's like you don't have any more classes to multiclass with, you could create a barbarian+farmer or a barbarian+commoner, or in the future a barbarian+archer, etc. In the complete game I expect there to be more class combinations that don't play well together, for example barbarian+wizard.

      The idea of armour of rage and barbarian armour is nice, but I would make it something quite rare and not the norm or easy to find at all, or else everyone wanting to do melee would be barbarian+fighter which would make more sense to be an uncommon choice.

  4. I have to agree that there's no harm whatsoever in making the barbarian's and fighter's class powers this way. They present very different approaches to the melee combat discipline, and have very different origins. Why should a Barbarian take inferior Fighter levels? Why should any other class, wishing to add some melee combat power, take both Fighter and Barbarian, rather than pick one? If you want your armor to be awesomer and some melee power, you pick Fighter; if you want more awesome melee power and don't care about armor, pick Barbarian.

    Armor that allows true berserk can exist as magical "of rage" armor and maybe stuff like light furs can allow it too, but if it's going to be that easy to manufacture, where's the fun in it? Let alone the logic; since when is anyone in the business of making armor crappier for money? You give the Barbarian armormaker dude money, he rips off some of the plates and a sleeve, hammers some dents in, performs some voodoo, has a horse trample on it, returns it, and you get so angry at having been ripped off that you can true berserk rage while wearing armor now?

    Before you start thinking of ways to somehow bypass true berserking conditions entirely, I'd advise trying to play with the restrictions intact. I think you might find the damage bonus is significant enough that defense just isn't all that important with a mad HP score, plus I think you still get base PV for Toughness. It's going to be different! Is it going to be suboptimal? Maybe, but let's cross that bridge when we come to it. And between "optimal" and "different", I'd always pick the latter!

    1. I think we're coming from different philosophies here. For me, my philosophy is that every class combination should be feasible - that's one thing I never liked about D&D 2nd edition. You had a lot of restrictions - like how only humans can be paladins, you can't cast spells while wearing armour (which made fighter-mage combinations heavily restricted/pointless), you can only backstab with daggers/short swords (which meant that fighter-thieves were still restricted in what weapons they could use). I didn't like that... it meant less difference between individual fighters, etc. That's the way I look at it here - I'd love every multiclass combo to be feasible - rather than if you pick barbarian as your main class, there are only 3-4 classes you can feasibly multiclass to.

      I like the idea of modifying armour, as it gives you a bit more depth, some extra options, and makes an extra reason to visit the barbarian camp. There are enough hurdles to overcome to actually modify your armour that you'd only do it for very special pieces anyway.

      I mean if we're going to pick holes in the logic, it doesn't really make a lot of sense that a barbarian not wearing any clothes is +15 speed, +15 damage, and 6x healing better then a barbarian who's wearing a hat! My rationale for barbarian armour is that most armours are designed to protect against attacks, but restrict movement; by ripping out plates and adding extra spikes/straps to the armour, it 'frees up' movement in the armour, allowing you to fight in the true berserker style (and the decorations help to put you in the berserker mindframe), but at a cost to PV.

      But ultimately, it might come down to personal preferences. I'd never play a true berserker barbarian in a serious playthrough - the reason is because I like shiny magic armours too much. That's just my personal preference though.

  5. Hello (1st post .. .why can't i post with my adom forum account?)

    Here i vote for a little bit of exclusivity of class traits, to make each game more unique.

    Even though multiclassing seems generally sensible, i believe that barbarians are an exception. You can become anything as a barbarian, but you can't really become a barbarian without being born such.

  6. Flavor-wise, I do have to agree that taking Barbarian levels should require "initiation" into a Barbarian tribe of some sort - but I think that's already planned. At least I remember classes being advanced by membership in "guilds" in a piece on JADE, and Barbarians don't have guilds.

  7. Here's a thought: What constitutes the Barbarian skill set/profile should be revisited, same for pretty much all classes, once both the Arcane/Divine/all general magic/supernatural stuff is implemented down the line.

    Barbarians, as a society, would have a different/impacted reality in a world that held Sorceries and Such versus otherwise---and like other classes features either in opposition or acceptance would organically manifest. I don't necessarily mean Berserker Mages that instant cast spells using their own HP as a resource, but there would definitely be an easier time filling out a full-bodied skill set once these other "missing" world factors, that we all know are coming down the line, are in play.

  8. How about some kind of war cry as a class ability? It would make lesser enemies flee in fear from you, which would be great against those summoned hordes. Also I think it fits barbarians nicely since they are known for using fear as a weapon.

  9. Regarding armor's effect on true berserking: perhaps make it so that any piece of armor which grants a penalty to DV or melee to-hit would disallow true berserking. This penalty should be checked from the unenchanted penalty, as it would be too exploitable to just use a few scrolls of defense/accuracy.

  10. Just thinking about this a little more, what other methods of generating critical hits will there be? I'm thinking specifically of things like weapons of foo slaying giving automatic crits. If that translates from ADoM to ADoM II, then that would dramatically lower the usefulness of the level 100 skill. If I had Vanquisher, I'd basically have no reason to level beyond 75 in barbarian unless there's some sort of modification to the way crits work.

  11. Just one comment... shouldn't the class-defining lvl 1 ability be useful throughout the entire game? It seems like tremendous blow at lvl 10 surpasses mighty blow in the sense that, if you're ready to sacrifice energy cost to perform a hard hitting blow there must be a reason for doing so (otherwise it's always better to never use these skills) and usually that reason is to overcome the PV of a monster and tremendous blow will always outperform mighty blow in that regard. So it just appears to me that once you hit lvl 10 as a barbarian, his class-defining ability becomes useless. Am I missing something?

    Also, how would the lvl 50 immunities work? If I'm on the neutral tactic and I get stunned, it seems like I can just switch to berserk which removes the stun and switch back to neutral without actually using a turn.

  12. One: Why shouldn't the level 10 ability make the level 1 ability obsolete? And how is the level ONE ability the "class-defining" one? That's all of them, if anything.
    Two: It's not even actually obsolete. There are two negatives to using mighty or tremendous blow: On anything but true berserk, you spend more energy per damage point than you do if you fought regularly. This can be worth it because monsters have PV. This tradeoff is also negated by true berserking, and yes, tremendous blow has an even better effect in that regard. It should be, since if mighty blow were more effective or equal, tremendous blow would be useless, and wouldn't that be shameful, considering it's available at a higher level?

    But there's another tradeoff: The recovery time. Using a tremendous blow might give monsters one, even several turns to act without the PC being able to react. A mighty blow in the same situation, supported by weapon skill and decent speed, will let the PC act much earlier. So no, the mighty blow does not become completely obsolete. And for a piddly level one ability, that's quite enough.

    1. I might be wrong about this but I don't think any other class has their level 1 ability "replaced" by a better one down the road. I said that the level 1 ability should remain useful throughout the entire game because it's the class-defining ability. I say this according to Thomas Biskup's post on Dec 12, 2011 entitled "Balancing professional abilities" where he says that the first ability "should be special, important and differentiating to each profession". It's actually precisely because of this that multi-classing characters receive a weaker level 1 ability on their secondary class because it was judged overpowered for a character to have two full-potential level 1 abilities. This attempt at balancing the game by disallowing two full-potential level 1 abilities seems largely bypassed when multi-classing with barbarian as a secondary class. If the level 10 ability is better than the level 1 ability (at least in terms of overcoming PV which is the main purpose of these abilities, especially when comparing tremendous blow to strong blow) then any penalties to the level 1 ability are obsoleted once you reach level 10 with secondary class barbarian. Shouldn't the multi-classing penalties persist forever?

      In a sense, with the barbarian abilities the way they are now, it's always better to choose barbarian as the secondary class in any barbarian/otherclass combo because the level 1 barbarian penalty will not persist, but the level 1 penalty of any other class so far is permanent, I think.

  13. Re: immunities, good question, but I don't remember putting on amulets of confusion resistance doing anything to fix already existing confusion, or rings of stun resistance to fix stunning, in ADOM, and I see no reason why ADOM II should behave differently in that regard. For paralyzation or sleep, the question does not come up.