Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Assassins in ADOM II

Right now I have started adding two "old" new professions to ADOM II 0.3.0: assassins and archers. As with previous posts about the revised professional abilities here is my proposal for the special abilities gained by assassins when they level up.

Currently I favor the following progression:
  • gain a bonus of + (assassin level + 3) to all attacks and damage on unsuspecting (e.g. not yet hostile) opponents at level 1 if assassin is the main profession, gain only 50% of that if chosen as a secondary profession while multi-classing
  • can turn any potion into poison at level 3
  • increase the damage multiplier on critical hits while backstabbing by +2 at level 6
  • +30% to the range of all missile attacks at level 10
  • immunity to poison at level 15
  • become invisible when adjacent to walls at level 21 (ninja!)
  • +10% to all critical hit probabilities and +1 to all critical hit multipliers at level 28
  • be able to teleport by spending 100% of your power point total at level 36 (more ninja!)
  • 1% probability per 15 levels for instant kills when hitting an opponent at level 50
  • immunity to critical hits at level 75
  • +50 to speed at level 100
What do you think?


  1. "be able to teleport by spending 100% of your power point total at level 36"
    So could a troll, who has just a few powerpoints but has boosted his pp regen (through potions etc.) be teleporting lots? And an elf with a big powerpoint pool will have to wait lots for it to regenerate. Doesn't seem right to me.

  2. You could make it something like "spend at least 1/3 of your total power points, minimum of 15" or somesuch to let us make some cool spellcaster/assassin combos.

    Also, I'm not a fan of "immunity to critical hits"; it feels a little too defensive for me. Perhaps something like a flat 50% chance to dodge hits that would otherwise hit you? Might be too powerful, but it feels more ninja!

    1. If going for the ninja-type of assassin, something like "x% chance to dodge a hit that would otherwise kill you" seems rather ninjalike. Or "automatically dodge the first lethal hit in n amount of turns". Or maybe autoteleport away on lethal hit. Something that lets you use shadows and mystic dark skills to just barely slip away from death's grasp.

  3. It would be much more difficult to balance but wouldn't it be nice to choose one of two available skills when reaching certain levels?

    This way all assassins will not feel the same by making slightly different choices.
    Each player could make and test his own "build".

    For example on level 15 the assasin may choose one of:
    - immunity to poison (an assasin who experimented with alchemy)
    - become invisible when adjacent to walls (a ninja assasin)

    Also there could be an option to select a previously discarded skill instead of a new one.

    For example on level 30 both offered skills don't fit my playstyle and i prefer to get the skill discarded on level 15.

    Another idea is that your choices on level-up may be influenced by your actions or your encounters with various trainers/artifacts/quests prior to reaching that level.

    For example when i become a level 15 assasin:
    Normally i would choose from 2 standard skills.
    However i managed to save the former Orc King's herbalist.
    As a reward he learned me some new tricks.
    This means there could possibly be another skill available on my next levelup, or even the standard skills offered could be enhanced in some minor way, like immunity to poison + 15% resistance to diseases instead of just only immunity to poison.

    I know this post was about assassins but it triggered some ideas about leveling in general.

    I hope these help.

    1. I kind of like this idea, but that's essentially what multi-classing is, right?

      As for my own thoughts, I agree with what others say about the teleporting, but I'm also curious about the strength of the level 6 ability. +2 to a multiplier seems *really* good to me, at least early on.

      I would also like to see more stealth abilities. Being invisible while next to walls is nice, but what good is a ton of backstab and crit abilities if you're never stealthy enough to use them?

  4. I agree with the comments about 100% of PP teleport being really powerful for troll fighter/assassins, but worse than useless for elven mage/assassins (especially if they can cast teleport already). I much prefer the way ADOM 1 did it with 'can use once every 1000 turns' for class powers. Seems completely fair for all race/class combinations, and if you can only use it once every 1000 turns, it's not like you're able to use it all the time.

    For the Lvl 15 Immunity to poison, I would also like to see assassins also only suffer 50% of the negative effect of drinking harmful potions, (because an assassin who has lived long enough to get to level 15 knows to always keep on hand an antidote for whatever potions/poisons he owns!)

    For Lvl 3 turn any potion into poison, this strikes me as a little weak (or something that will become quite weak later on). I would ideally like to see assassins as MASTERS of poisons - I would like to see poisons used by assassins be more powerful (effect of poison increases as assassin level increases), and also Assassins gaining access to more powerful types of poisons including:
    - Poisons that drain PP (for assassinating wizards)
    - Combining multiple poisons together to make poisons with multiple status effects (such as a poison that can blind/confuse/slow)
    - Contagious poisons that spread to adjacent monsters (use a fear or beserk poison in a crowd, lol)
    - When an assassin poisons a weapon, the poison stays on permanently unless the assassin dips the weapon in a different poison, or dips it in water/orange juice to clean it off.

    The Level 1 and Level 6 bonuses appear to be basically the same thing (more damage with backstabs), so I would like to see something different... like
    - Assassins can DUAL WIELD throwing weapons (throw two knives at once!), or if you can already do this, they get bonuses with throw-dual wield (like how rangers get bonuses with normal dual weild). To dual wield, you equip one throwing weapon in your missile weapon slot, and the other in your missiles slot. dual-wielding returning weapons will work out very badly unless you have excellent dex. Improvised throwing weapons (ie, everything that you throw that isn't really a throwing weapon) also are more powerful.

  5. For the most part, I like these.

    My one quibble is with the level 1 talent. This is a weak talent at low assassin levels anyway, and will really only come into its own at higher levels, so there doesn't seem like a whole lot of need to reduce its power for secondary assassins. Either a secondary assassin will only have a few levels, in which case it's all but useless anyway, or they'll pump a lot of levels into secondary assassin, in which case it doesn't seem right to penalise them.

    Instead, I'd move the backstab bonus from level 6 to level 1 (and reduce it accordingly for secondaries), the level 1 talent to level 3, and poison creation from level 3 to level 6.

    I do like the immunity to critical hits, though. It conjures up a lovely image of a powerful enemy aiming all its strikes at the assassin's weak spots – organs, pressure points, arteries, etc. – only to find that they never quite hit where they were meant to hit. The assassin is too quick and knows all the weak points too well, so what was meant to be a mighty spleen-rupturing blow ends up as just a minor scratch.

  6. Personally, I don't really like the teleport power. Not, that it would be unbalanced to cast it with a troll (troll assassin? have mercy on me...), but it's just not assassinish.
    Assassin is someone killing fast, and killing first. He's not running away, there's no need to run from the lifeless body.

    Also, the lvl 21 class power is nice, but I'd like to replace it with a lot better stealth skill (like 3 extra checks or something), so it would be useful against monsters that can see invisible.

    And what about replacing the create poison power (who needs so much poison anyway?) with the ability to create traps? ADOM always lacked the possibility of making traps (of course there were those wands, but they were just insufficient IMO).

    lvl 10 power is kind of unimpressive too. What assassin trains such skills? I understand, that this power is designed for the better usage of thrown knives, so what about pumping just this? Maybe something like double bonus from the thrown daggers (and regular daggers)skill?

    Finally - immunity to crits may be just overpowered and illogical. It's nice thing, but imagine that HUGE moloch bashing you with the fist of the size of your abdomen, or maybe your whole body, if you're a hurthling. Not even magic can help you, this is a critical hit. So I propose something like 90% less crits or alike.

    Oh, and BTW - imagine quickling assassin, hitting you ten times, with eight crits, poisoning you with every of them... ;)

    1. "lvl 10 power is kind of unimpressive too. What assassin trains such skills? I understand, that this power is designed for the better usage of thrown knives, so what about pumping just this? Maybe something like double bonus from the thrown daggers (and regular daggers)skill?"

      Probably all assassins of the day trained such skills, to be honest. The classic ninja weapon is the Fukiya, a blowpipe, because it was extremely accurate, had excellent range, was absolutely silent and could kill a person with a poison dart. Killing people at close range is a high-risk proposition for a would-be assassin.

      "Oh, and BTW - imagine quickling assassin, hitting you ten times, with eight crits, poisoning you with every of them... ;)"

      Sounds like it would be pretty much the same as the original quickling queen.

  7. There have been several really good ideas that would make assassins much more than dual wielding fighters. I love the idea of being able to create a variety of poisons: why not be able to dip your arrows in potions of blindness or PP drain?
    Being able to set up traps is also a great idea. You could use a wand as a battery and set it to "explode" when someone triggers it. A trap made with a wand of ball lightning (with 6 charges) can be activated 6 times before the trap is useless (or just one big explosion). Could there be a "trap making kit" similar to a fletchery set with a certain number of uses? Use the trap making set and 5 arrows of humanoid slaying dipped in poison to kill that darn necromancer. I don't know how complicated this would be, but it would be a really nice addition to the kill-fast style of assassins.

    I have to say that my favorite idea is dual wielding thrown daggers. It would just look epic.

    About the teleportation ability: I understand the mixed reviews about it, and think that Lyle was right when he said that just giving it the "once in 1000 turn" limitation would nicely solve the problem. However, I think that it would fit the ninja's style more to have an ability more like a short range blink. You are closing in for melee, but you are fighting an archer. It would be nice to have a short range teleportation ability (like 3 or 4 spaces) to magically appear behind your target without being shot at while you move in. This could also give you a chance to confuse them, or automaticlly trigger the backstab ability. I think this is more ninja like than a full blown teleport spell. The skill could require a target to appear behind so that you couldn't use it to flash through thin walls, and less useful to escape than to go in for the quick strike. This might also be a lower level ability so it could be a little more mainstream in the assassins bag of tricks.

    In ADOM II, are we going to be able to enchant weapons? It would be nice if there was a way a wizard/assassin multiclass could infuse their weapons with a spell (cast before hand for 3x PP) that activates on the next use of the weapon. Like dipping in poison, except it would be cool to fire that arrow of fireball into a group of skeletons :) It could be balanced by having skill levels in that spell not apply (so base spell damage only) or having it only be able to affect the single person hit.

  8. Assassins at high levels should eventually be able to mix up potions of slaying... So an Assassin about to attack a bug temple would dip his weapon in a potion of insect slaying before the battle. The whole idea of having so many potent poisons available to assassins is to give them a sub-system almost similar to wizards or clerics, and it would give assassins a very 'unique' feel. If players are willing to travel to the jungle for a particular vine ingredient, or to the beach to harvest the shell of a particular hermit crab for poison ingredients, it's working well.

    Here's an idea for a level 50 or 75 ability - the problem with sneak attacks is that you're only able to do one before the enemy knows you're there. What if a high level assassin has a small chance (which still needs a lot of dexterity and stealth!) of going into stealth again in the middle of a fight or when still in sight of a monster? This gives you a chance to backstab again, or a chance to run away (so you can be a "hit and run" assassin). Maybe you could get a message when this successfully happens. "You miss the orc. The orc misses you. You slip back into the shadows...."

  9. If we want to go the ninja route, here are a few ideas to think about:

    -Smoke bomb. Blinds all enemies adjacent to you for 1d2 turns (allowing for more backstabs, of course). Works once every 1500 turns. I'd replace this for the teleport power.

    -Intensify poison. Combine, say, 3, 5, 10, or 20 potions of poison to make an uber poison. Increase damage, or possibly status effects as others suggest. I'd suggest just amending this to the level 3 power. Have it that at level 3 you just make potions of poison from regular potions, and every, say, 12-15 levels, you get another poison added.

    -Escape. When HP is 25% or less, gain a 33% bonus to DV and an additional 200 point reduction in walking energy cost while using Coward tactics.

    -Hamstring. If a monster is two sizes larger than you are more, backstab critical hits will cause the monster to be slowed.

    -Misdirect. Assassin throws a projectile to an empty location that makes a loud noise when it hits. Monsters who have not spotted the PC (and have ears) will be drawn to the location to investigate. I'd put this somewhat low level, but I think it could be a really useful utility skill.

  10. The teleport could be buffed: "If this teleport lands you behind a creature, you may attack that creature immediately."

  11. * Does "unsuspecting" also cover "hasn't see you yet"?

    * Poisons are cool, can there be some way to keep your blades poisoned for longer or allow auto-reapplying with minimal time and energy?

    * Love the crit multiplier boost, the one at level 6 is just for backstabbing but the one at level 28 applies all the time I take it?

    * Ranged attacks is a bit meh, it could easily not do anything for melee focused assassins and higher range does nothing in cramped (dungeon) conditions anyway. Might be handy for thrown weapons which have much worse range, but if that was the goal I'd just improve thrown weapons directly.

    * Invisible = good. That is all.

    * Teleporting for 100% power points? Seems both weak (its needs 100%!) and a little iffy in terms of assassin flavour - it'd be nice to have a short range "teleport to behind that monster I can see" though. Or just the ability to "walk through" hazards, be it walls/doors or water/lava etc.

    * Instant killing is nice, although with just a flat percent it seems like the kind of thing that will always trigger when you don't need it to and never trigger when you do. Perhaps having it as an activated ability which gives a slightly higher chance, but if it doesnt trigger you still get one auto hit with a boosted crit chance and multiplier?

    * Immunity to critical hits is a nice bonus, although not sure if its entirely inkeeping with assassins. Perhaps evading other assassins crit hits if they're a lower level than you, but all? Hmm...

    * ...and +50 speed. Handy, but a little lack lustre. (I seem to recall barbarians getting similar at lower levels too, all be it whilst being a berserker or something but still).

    * Other cool "capping" abilities could be gaining health/PP after each kill, or just extra XP if its an "assassination" (any one shot kill, or one where they didn't see it coming?).
    Gaining extra chance of critical hits or increasing crit multiplier after each successful hit/crit (so you can get killing spree combos basically).
    The ability to just outright kill one thing you can see (with a long cooldown/cost) for "I can kill you with my brain" styled assassinations!

  12. Hello, Thomas! I'm pretty new to JADE, but I've been playing ADOM for about 13 years and even managed to get my wife to play it for almost as long.) It must be unusual, but I also learned english mostly from ADOM. So, as you can imagine, we are huge fans. Thank you!

    I have a few thoughts about class powers. Sorry if it is a little late.

    Firstly - about class powers in general. I would say that most of them feel pretty unnatural. You don't have anything for some levels, then you suddenly have something and it stays pretty much static for the rest of your life. There are also problems with multiclassing - you need to cripple early bonuses for secondary classes. Doesn't feel right.
    I suggest focusing mostly on gradually increasing bonuses. Imagine yourself an adventurer. You start green and inexperienced, but as you survive more and more combat, you learn something you focus on. If you prefer to kill enemies in a specific style - you get better at this style, hence the class progression. Now, you don't just spontaneously get some sacral insight that buff you with some absolute numbers forever. You learn, gradually. So if you are a fighter, you should, for example, continuously get better at using your armor and weapons. So you don't get a +50% PV bonus at some level, you gain +2% PV bonus every level. And starting with some higher level, you also start to attack progressively better. And so on. Every power like this can be balanced pretty easily by putting hard or soft caps, so that you gain max +50% PV with this class power, or gain progressively smaller bonuses. This feels much more natural and it allows you to almost completely ignore multiclassing-for-early-powers problem, because you just won't get anything worthwhile on your first level. Just like in life, you will need to slowly learn and endure.

    This will also partially solve another problem about class powers - they are positioned in a very uninteresting way in a long run. As you gain levels, you slow down in gaining next ones. But the distance between levels at which you gain new class powers does not compensate for this, it aggravates the problem. So you gain many powers on early levels that are already easy to gain, and gain very little on later levels, which already should take forever to achieve. You are trying to balance this by making this last powers, well, powerful, but I don't think that it is right, see above. I would consider a more smooth progression, so that you have less distance between gaining something new and interesting, and so that you get better at your class tricks more or less smoothly throughout a game. This will make multyclassing really tough choice, since you wouldn't just have some milestones like certain immunity that you will want to achieve just to stop progressing in this class.

  13. As for the assassin, I'd agree with people above about teleportation, poisons and throwing weapons.
    Full-scale teleportation is a very powerful feature and it does not feel assassinish one bit. Using PP for such class powers is a bad idea too. I would suggest limited range teleportation to a specific target _in sight_, so no going through walls and doors. It shouldn't be on a huge cooldown like 1000 turns since then you won't use it much, mostly because you will always think that you may need to save it for a really important moment. I'd suggest a small cooldown so that you couldn't use it more than once in a small battle (2-5 enemies), but could use it in every battle.
    Range on throwing weapons always was a very weak bonus, especially considering it is a percentage.
    As for the poison subsystem - it really sounds like a great idea. Every subsystem that would make a class feel unique is something worth considering. Otherwise it will all be just about some passive bonuses and a few resists/immunities. Not very interesting.

    I'd also add about backstabbing. In ADOM stealth had some rather unattractive mechanics since you couldn't do much about it besides using invisibility. You couldn't even know for sure if the monster sees you unless you look at him every turn with 'l'ook feature. Also you couldn't hide from a monster that already saw you. For assassin's backstab to be really something powerful, player would need some control over stealth and possibly some indicators. Maybe, as suggested above, generate a messages ("Monster saw you and became agressive/does not seem to care.") that you can turn on/off at any time. And a possibility to hide after combat starts. That's not very unnatural - combat is pretty confusing and you can easily lose a sight of your enemy for a second (again a message). Assassin could exploit such moments by attemting another backstab. This would feel much more different from a fighter, for example, and it is a good thing.

    Thank you for your time.

  14. BTW teleportation now is usable once every x turns and no longer uses up power points. Your arguments were very convincing - thanks ;-)