Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Regarding Mist Elves

Since yesterday I have given Mist Elves (one of the new races to show up in ADOM) quite some more thought. Up to now I just had some basic ideas... things now are getting more specific. Here's what I got so far...

Mist Elves are a truly ancient race, literally born from the mists of time. They are almost immortal and some of their ancient members are believed to have been present at the dawn of creation. Their incredible lifespan gives them a very different and aloof look on life and civilization as they regard even Gray Elves as mere toddlers. Combined with the fact that Mist Elves are a very magical races, their bodies being made from magically solidified mist, they appear frightening, uncaring, cold and wise at the same time. They scoff at the views of the younger races and life doesn't mean much to them, having seen many empires rise and crumble within the span of a single Mist Elves life.
Mist Elves are even larger than Gray Elves but thin and frail beings. Their skin is almost white, their hair is pearl white and it seems to move with a slight breeze all the time. Ther breath is misty and their yes are pearly, violet, pink oder yellow. Mist Elves move almost without sound. They physique is weak and they are not very strong. Additionally they are the most fairy like of elves, going so far that the prolonged touch of mundane metal burns their skin like acid. Thus their prefer to wear and wield weapons and armaments of precious metals, like mithril or adamantium.
Grey Elves despise Mist Elves, viewing them as uncaring beings devoid of emotion and lacking the general elven love for life. Mist Elves just chuckle about the antics of their baby cousins. Mist Elves, having been lifted from the mists of time themselves during creation, have a very specific grasp of necromancy. Most of them - if not drawn towards Chaos due to boredom - hate undead and are very powerful in combatting them by using their magical powers to wreak great harm upon undead. Mist Elf necromancers are able to create special creatures and engage in an act of creation rather than in infusing dead beings with unholy energies, called white necromancy by themselves.
Mist Elves are the rarest of all elves, you will encounter a thousand Gray Elves before you see one Mist Elf. They are rumored to live in misty areas high in mountain valleys or deep in the hills but no mortal known has ever seen one of their settlements. Some sages believe them to be physical manifestations of the dreams of gods, others regard them as leftovers from the act of creation itself. Mist Elves just chuckle and move on at such useless ponderings.
Game-wise I imagine mist elves with even less toughness and strength than Gray Elves and also with even less hit points. But in exchange they receive a special bonus in melee combat, suffering but one-half damage from all melee attacks (which actually makes them pretty tough in melee but a lot more vulnerable to magical and missile attacks). Mana will be extremely high due their connection to creation, as well as willpower and perception. All mist elves will start with leather and mithril equipment as they suffer actual burns from normal metal (if exposed to it prolonged, e.g. wearing significant amounts like armor, boots, helmets, etc.). Preferred skills will be Literacy, Stealth, Concentration, Dodge, Alertness and Necromancy (although they don't use corpses unless chaotic).

They probably need special background histories and I'm still pondering whether to exclude certain classes from some races (e.g. barbarians do not seem to fit my vision of mist elves but I guess we'll have to see).

Thoughts? Comments?


  1. From a pure balance point of view, they seem... very, very powerful to me. Low Toughness and Strength scores are not so very debilitating unless you plan a significant change to the ease with which you can gain Toughness in particular through herbs--and receiving half damage from melee attacks will ease them through the dangerous early game. There are not many monsters in ADOM with missile or magical attacks, and with alertness and dodge, this does not matter so much anyway. If their learning is respectable, they'll be a first choice for any caster class. But with Literacy, Alertness, and Concentration in the skillset, they'll be a good choice for classes who are normally marginal casters because they lack Concentration--thieves, fighters, rangers, and the like. Though with half damage from melee attacks, even barbarian/beastfighter would probably be a good choice.

    1. I am sorry, but I have to agree. Half damage from melee attacks is very, very good. Add some toughness from morgia roots and it overclasses any existing race. And with mithril starting items on top of that, they will be very strong from the start. Alertness is one of the best skills in the game and grey elves (who lack it) are already the most popular choice for wizards (or necromancers) as it stands..

      I am sorry to be so blunt, this is intended as constructive criticism. I hope that is clear.

    2. Ok, let's be more constructive. The idea of balancing resistance to melee attacks with vulnerability to magic is interesting, but imho the primary problem with that is not really the lack of monsters with ranged attacks (as Jellyslayer said), but more that it is quite easy to gain resistances and immunities.

      So here is an idea. What if they are unable to gain any sort of elemental resistance or immunity?

    3. IMHO this is one more reason why the requests to nerf herbs in the forums should be implemented.

      The problem with balancing low To races is that, right now, all races are high To races by the midgame, due to herbs.

      This makes it more difficult to do interesting things like Mist Elves.

      I'd nerf herbs and implement mist elves as described above, that would be great.

    4. The herb issue definitely is an interesting thing to balance, yes :-)

  2. Looking forward to playing them. - Getting the balance right will be the trick. To make them less awesome and more balanced - how about "will not weild weapons" That makes them less likely to be barbarians etc and fits in with the idea that running around with little pointy bits of metal is beneath them.

  3. I agree that these sound very powerful, but I'm not necessarily sure that that's a bad thing. I've always considered that races and classes in ADOM aren't necessaily meat to be balanced. It's a lot easier to do well with a troll barbarian than it is with a dark elf merchant, and I like that. It means that there area good range of options available for newbies and experts alike.

    I especially like the idea of a race with concentration. That opens up a lot of interesting possibilities.

    If mid- to late-game power is seen as a concern, then one possibility would be to change the stat-ceiling that can be reached through certain herb or corpse effects. If, for instance, morgia roots could only raise a mist elf's toughness to 18 and anything further had to be through potions, then that would retain a lot of the feeling of low HP but being hard to injure.

    I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of necromancy. With the possible exception of the drakelings' acid-spit, other races just don't have anything that's even comparable, so I'm not sure if that will feel right.

    I think you should continue to allow all races to play all classes, even when they don't necessarily make that much sense. It's always fun to try to figure out why a troll would become a healer or a high elf a necromancer, or so on, and I think that playing a mist elf barbarian could be fun (maybe she's a scholar and anthropologist who has been living among the lesser races to learn their ways, or maybe she was taken in by a barbarian tribe after she suffered an injury ad amnesia, or maybe...)

  4. Just a quick thought looking at the mechanics. The damage reduction should definitely grow over time or scale. It's very much subject to power creep effect. Say, if you get hit by an attack dealing 2 damage it reduces it by 1. However if you get smashed by a 100 damage hit, you take 50 hp worth of damage less (and before PV I assume).

    1. After PV. Definitely. As the damage first needs to get through your armor before being affected by your peculiar mist elven physique.

  5. Definitely some nice ideas to make them distinct from the other elven races. I do agree with everyone that they seem a bit too powerful though.

    Rather than taking away some of their positive features, you could add a few more detrimental ones to make life a bit more difficult for them.

    What if, because of their own demi-god-like status, they don't have any gods of their own to pray to (would make a mist elf cleric an interesting prospect)? Or perhaps, because they're so long-lived, they're especially slow with it (no need to rush etc).

    I really dislike the idea of precluding classes from specific races. Playing odd combinations is a lot of fun and you could always think of *some* justification for how it could happen.

    I think that's really important in ADOM actually. The fact that the classes and races have quite rigid limitations and benefits, but that they can be combined in interesting ways is part of what makes it so infinitely replayable.

    1. Rather than taking away some of their positive features, you could add a few more detrimental ones to make life a bit more difficult for them.


      This is always the best option.
      Maybe they should suffer more corruption from attacks because they are closer to the elemental planes?

    2. Yeah balancing with negative features rather than diminishing positive ones will ensure new races/classes are properly unique and enrich the game, rather than just being slight modifications or "inbetweeners".

    3. I really like the idea of making prayers a lot more problematic.

    4. Instead of having gods they prey to, their lore could emphasise fundamental individualism: worshipping themselves as gods. In fact, you could borrow a lot of their philosophical and spiritual outlook from LeVeyan (non-theistic) Satanism - it really fits with them being aloof, self-important and disinterested with the rest of existence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LaVeyan_Satanism

  6. I must admit I'm not a fan of having more elves in the game (even the 3 types of elves that already exist sometimes feel redundant in my opinion) but I enjoy reading about these design decisions and I'm looking forward to seeing what other people will do with this race. Personally, I'm much more excited about the possibility of playing ratlings in the future due to their importance in the ADOM world.

    I agree with rho that you should continue to allow all races to play all classes. I feel this is a strength of ADOM compared to other games and it would be a shame to lose the freedom at this point. There's always the possibility to make special barbarian backgrounds for Mist Elves that more suit their way of life. Just like the human barbarians, the Mist Elf barbarians might be social outcasts but still keep some of their elven traditions and values.

    1. Ok, ok, enough voices against limitations ;-) I'll just drop the thought.

  7. So does this mean I have to wear Thick Gauntlets on Mist Elven Fighters before equipping my Sword of Sharpness?

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  9. Mist Elf wizard or necromancer should be a great first ascent combination, and finding precious metals is no problem at all by the time one reaches the arena. Perhaps they should indeed have some extra toughness/melee-related penalties though (such as: need more hits to raise weapon skills, lower DV when carrying a weapon heavier than n stones, etc.), as low HP becomes little more than carelessness safeguard on a character who isn't supposed to fight in close quarters.

    I also like the idea of making them more different to High/Gray elves. The difference between those two was minute at best, and they always seemed to be the same race split into two for no apparent reason. Looking forward to seeing ME's level bonuses.

    1. What kind of creatures will Mist Elves raise if chosen to be white necromancers? (Golems? Those seem fitting...) Will the raise spells change accordingly with alignment? Will the already-raised creatures keep their loyalty if that happens?

    2. Will we see MEs as random enemies/NPCs?

    3. What would other races' dispositions be towards MEs? Will they be hated, perceived as legendary creatures, or maybe some races will be afraid of them?

    1. I was going to say, if no one else already had that golems seem fitting for the "necromancy". Since they were there for creation, the whole "breathing life into the clay" aspect of most creation myts should be something they're familiar with. And a golem is a good approximation. Not quite alive (they're not quite gods) but far superior to necromancy.

      Obviously not iron or steel golems, but enough corpses could become a flesh golem. Enough stone weapons a stone golem. You could implement wood golems (to a living tree what a flesh golem is to a human), crystal weapons/shields armor could become a crystal golem. Implement diamonds as a gem, and enough of those could be a diamond golem (obviously, good luck finding enough). As for clay golems, who knows? You're the creator after all.

  10. Let's see now... I like the idea of having more traditional iron-allergic elves. How it would interact with weapons is an interesting thought. You don't usually touch iron parts of your own weapons, but still, accidents might happen. Then again, you say "prolonged contact". It would be fun if their physical melee resistance would be compromised by enemies with iron weapons -- would make them less godly, but still logical.

    As for their white necromancy, I would think that lawful/neutral ME can create various new creatures of their own alignment (limiting them to their alignment would be nice, and it could also make L/N/C ME play in very different ways). I would use the term "familiars" here. Fairies and pixies especially seem to be good candidates for created beings given their synonymousness with elves in Celtic mythology. Perhaps they could also summon dryads from trees?

    What I'm not sure about is to make this power a part of existing necromancy. If you don't use dead bodies in any way, what exactly makes it "necromancy"? And the necromancer class has class powers that assume you reanimate the dead. I'd suggest a new skill (Creation? Forming? Mist Breath?) or even a separate ability tree like Mindcrafters have. At the very least, a cosmetic name change -- if they hate undead, they would hardly use the same word for themselves as for the other type or necromancers.

    Idea for ME gods:

    Neutral: The Dawn of Time
    Lawful: The Golden Age
    Chaotic: The Nightfall

    The idea is that these are more like personifications of time periods. The Dawn of Time is the past, the beginning of all, zero state where neither good or evil exists. The Golden Age is the idea of lawful future where everyone lives in harmony. The Nightfall is the idea of chaotic future where the world is devoured by chaos. For ageless creatures, I think that these would be appropriate gods.

  11. I love the background story. You've got me dying to play a mist elf now.

    While I do think that they are a bit more powerful in some ways than most races, that doesn't matter to me. Races aren't balanced in ADOM at all, so I don't see a problem with mist elves the way you imagine them.
    People have suggested that herbs will help them out due to their low To, and that's true, but how many actually rush through the UD or CoC to find herbs? I just can't see many people going straight to the CoC, when the dungeons around Terinyo offer so many benefits (and Healing).

    Yeah, definitely looking forward to playing Mist Elves now

  12. The balance considerations are significant. However there is already a good system in place for this - experience penalties. Make Mist Elves have xp penalties akin to trolls, perhaps even worse than trolls. This will balance them out significantly. They'll become a great newbie race to play (a newbie caster race to counter-balance the newbie melee race of trolls).

    Removing religion from them entirely is a cool idea too. It would fit in with their lore and would introduce lots of interesting gameplay considerations.

    1. xp penalties are a good system?

    2. Personally I had thought about making them about as difficult to advance as trolls actually, yes. The idea being that they take a much slower outlook on life and need a lot more stimulation to learn (besides obvious game balance issues).

    3. Makes sense, it took them the lifetime of the world to reach lvl.1. Why would you expect them to get to level 2 after five or six goblins?

  13. Oh, and I'm definitely against class restrictions. Weird combos in ADOM is part of the fun. Perhaps their story could be that they became interested in one of the occupations in the lesser races, and decided to try the ways of these strange children. And so they took the path of a beastfighter!

  14. More Elves? Not a fan.

    More Necromancy but in a slightly different form? I like pets/summoners/undead. Sounds interesting.

    New race of Elves with interesting lore and intriguing skills? They sound a bit overpowered but certainly have my interest piqued!

    We're in a beta state so implementation and testing will make take these early thoughts into a refined Race suitable for the ADOM environment.

  15. I'm not very enthusiastic about this approach to the fourth elven race. The very first phrase about the Gray Elf in the manual calls them the "most noble of all elven races". All ADOM lore up to now seemed intent to make it clear that the Gray Elf of all elves definitely is the elfiest elf of them all.

    I *like* that the mist elf comes with a different set of skills, abilities and weaknesses - that was one of the weaknesses of the high elf-gray elf constellation. I don't like that their lore makes them "Gray Elves, only HARDER". Gray elves were described as rare, slender, magically potent, frail - Mist elves are super rare, super slender and tall, super magically potent and super frail. Where we had a pretty elfy elf, the really elfy elf, and the dark elf, now we have a pretty elfy elf, a really elfy elf and elves who are very elfy but not as elfy as the really elfy elves, as well as the dark elf - who is really the only one whose position is not hurt at all, incidentally, because he is defined by actually unique traits; the dark skin, evil nature, relation to spiders and the underground and so on.

    I think you could get away with emphasizing their physical differences - make them a different branch of the elven tree much like the dark elf - without also taking all of the things special about the gray elf and cranking them up even more. They have the white necromancy, the allergy to iron and the different composition of their bodies (the "mist" thing); do they really need to live longer and be even more awesome at spellcasting than Gray Elves?

    From a balance standpoint, I don't think I like the approach of very low toughness, but melee damage resistance very much at all. It was already understood by any player of gray elven characters that during the first few levels you might simply die to a stone block trap and be forced to reroll, because even your max HP was simply not enough to withstand one. An even frailer race will run into exactly the same difficulties, but for longer, because they need more levels to push HP high enough not to die from unavoidable traps.

    If resurrected ADOM doesn't do anything about herbs, though, mist elves go up to 25 To just like the others and are now absolute melee beasts. Since they are also graced with the Alertness skill, which protects very effectively from spells, "mist elf" is suddenly the ultimate defensive package for any PC. The only way I see the mist elf as written above working as intended is if Toughness training is severely restricted, for instance by a rebalancing of herbs or making potential maximums more rigid.

    XP penalties are not a solution because they suck, full stop - but they're also especially unsuitable for mist elves. Trolls are still playable because they have extreme Toughness and Strength, which means that for a long duration their damage and HP is equivalent to PCs of other races several levels higher. An xp-penalty mist elf's HP score would be like a *quarter* that of a different race with the same xp, and the chance of traps ruining your day unless you're willing to spend ages on I:1 is that much higher. The lower rate of leveling even reduces the rate at which you can increase your Alertness skill, which could protect you from the traps. Trolls pay for their early game by taking a long time to unlock their full power, giving them a harder time in the mid and late game. Mist elves have an extremely punishing early game, to which xp penalties would add a sucky mid and late game on top.

    1. continuing... (wretched word limits!)

      Concentration makes a huge difference both in learning spells and recovering from casting them. Since it was only given to certain classes, that served to overall limit spellcasting (very powerful in ADOM) in availability. Now it barely matters which class you play; pick a mist elf and you can cast book-learned spells at an alarming proficiency, in addition to the universally available white necromancy. That seems like overkill to me, especially combined with the severely powerful Alertness. It should be enough just to give them Necromancy.

      I actually think white necromantic abilities would give severe flavor to a hypothetic mist elf barbarian tribe. Maybe they'd resurrect worthy foes to fight them again during warrior rituals. Where other barbarians wear skull totems, the mist elf barbarians ride skeletal horses into battle. Maybe they'd call upon their dead ancestors to assist them in fighting an enemy tribe in times of need - and be actually HEARD. The more I think about it, really, the more radical mist elf barbarians start to sound in my head.

      ADOM has always benefitted from allowing even the oddball combinations, just from a humorous perspective, but also for the RP freedom it offered, and because of the unique challenges you face. Each of the 200 combinations is a unique type character. Playing a troll wizard doesn't feel like playing a troll OR a wizard - it feels like playing a troll wizard. You'd wonder just what happened in the life of the hurthling necromancer that they'd stoop to such things, or how the orcish druid came to love animals more than killing, or imagine the story of a high elf child found by a tribe of human barbarians and raised as one of their own. This is something that kind of irked me when I started up Nethack, actually. For each class there were like two race choices. After all the time spent playing ADOM, that just seemed - lame.

      Don't, don't, don't do this. The more I think about race/class restrictions, the more I hate even the thought. Let's be bold! 264 race/class combinations is not too much, it's barely even enough!

    2. You do like to whine, Silfir ;)

      Maybe instead of elves they should be called something else? It feels a bit like they are radically different from the other elves, and we have enough else already. We could call them The Fay, Mist Beings, Misterians, Mistmen, Mistlings...

    3. The "really really elfy elf" syndrome is a very good point imo.

      When it comes to your arguments against the xp penalty, I think you're contradicting yourself a little, though. They are either "the ultimate defensive package" OR "too little HP". You can't really complain about both at the same time. ;-) Them dying easier to things like traps but being better protected against monsters, that is the whole idea..

      I think a severe xp penalty is an interesting idea that has potential.

    4. I agree with blurry (and Grey above). A trollish XP penalty would be a great way to balance this race while leaving the more unusual features intact. Yes, it means that they will have frustratingly low HP for most of the game--but isn't that kind of the point? It also means that even if they have comparable Le scores to other elven races, they aren't an automatic favourite, since spellcasting ability scales with level.

    5. As I said elsewhere... forget the class restriction idea.

      Regarding more elf than gray elf... maybe it's my prose. I really see them differently. As the kind of "inhuman human" (or unelven elf) so to speak, because they are so much older than even gray elves that their whole nature and point of view regarding all things elven is highly alien and unelven.

      While thy share some physique and history, they are definitely the cold, aloof, alien and uncaring grandfathers of all things elven... even the almost immortal beauty created by gray elven artists feel fleeting and like forgone effort to them.

      Damn, I need a wordsmith to express my ideas :-)

    6. Without the xp penalty, they have a punishing early game and a kickass mid- and late game. With one, they have a nigh-impossible early game and take ages to get to their mid- or late game prowess. That's great balance?

      XP penalties in general are a fairly misguided balancing tool. Levels add class powers and skill increases and talents; all of the build-up elements that players love in their RPGs are tied to them. With trolls, it's justifiable because they're big, strong and really stupid. Their strength and toughness guarantees them a playable game, and their slow learning is less jarring because it fits with their background. With mist elves, it would be crystal clear that they're only slow learners for balance reasons, with no justification provided by the lore.

      White necromancy, iron allergy, partially ethereal composition - all of these are perfectly interesting, but none of these require Mist Elves to have Concentration or Alertness. They also don't require Mist Elves to be just overall more awesome at spellcasting than Gray Elves are, or live longer than they do.

      Of course, the text has said nothing about their Learning score. But if you give them a low Learning score and/or xp penalties to offset the enormous willpower and mana, the distinguishing factor of the Mist Elves becomes that their heads are ALSO filled with mist, and they are now the Dumb Elves, rather than graced with the wisdom and acuity of a nigh-immortal life. Seems weird to have a race that can concentrate, but not actually achieve anything while they're doing it.

      I do feel I owe it to Thomas, when he's clearly bouncing ideas off of his fanbase as he's done many times before (for instance the posts on ADOM II classes, which were all followed by revised versions after the comments), to speak out when I think one of his ideas doesn't work for me. If I came across as whining, I am quite sorry.

    7. Maybe it was the comparisons to Gray Elves that led me to the "three degrees of elfdom" image. It doesn't help that the manual also describes Gray Elves in terms of comparison to High Elves. I've probably misunderstood the intent as a result. It might help if, similar to how Dark Elves only refer to their "surface-dwelling cousins", the Mist Elf was described without referring to just Gray Elves to give us a sense of just how far removed from mundane elves they are.

      It doesn't help that the manual describes Gray Elves both as "the most noble of all elven races" and as possessing "magical powers of which other races only dream". When I heard "mist elf", I thought we would see one of those other elven races, with distinguishing features of their own, much like the dark elf. The mist elf from above is much, much more than another elven race. It's probably my fault for being a slave to my own expectations.

    8. I think that slow learning is actually somewhat thematically appropriate. You think after a 10000 year life, their abilities are suddenly going to improve dramatically over the course of a month or two? For people, anyway, it is certainly more difficult to learn new things as you age. Or you could spin it that they focus their energies elsewhere. For example, they might be pure hedonists who are only interested in their own pleasure, and don't really have any particular interest in learning about the ways or skills of "mere mortals".

      Anyway, trolls have strength and toughness to get them through the early periods; mist elves have damage resistance and white necromancy. This is also a sliding scale anyway. Trolls take 3x (3.5x?) as much xp as everyone else to level. If that's too excessive for Mist Elves, perhaps 2x or 2.5x would be more appropriate.

    9. That was precisely my point. Note that grey elves already have a slower xp curve than humans. Is that because they're dumber? No, they just operate on a different time frame. They savour knowledge like a fine wine, instead of gulping it down rapidly like these fast-living humans. Mist elves would be on a whole new level. Change to such an ancient race does not come easy.

      I do kinda agree that calling them a new height of elfdom isn't exactly right with how grey elves are already described. Perhaps the grey elf description just needs adjusting. Consider:

      High elves: Regular elfy types. Weak but still good warriors. Integrate with the other races happily, though still consider themselves superior.
      Grey elves: More magically orientated and physically frail. Aloof out of a feeling of vast superiority, but happy to lord over the lesser races.
      Mist elves: Wholly different type of elf, no real interest in the affairs of mortal races. Physically completely different from other races.

      I do think though that high elves need something to distinguish themselves more. Perhaps higher dexterity and a little more strength, to make them more combat orientated. Maybe give them 10% faster learning in the sword and bow weapon skills? They need a more butch image.

    10. I know! Call them Mistborn!


    11. I only got through a few of these posts, but as for the class restrictions, maybe have them have *no* class? The racial bonuses alone are nutty, and what good would a mist elf necromancer be? And a mist elf fighter would be insane. And what and to whom would a mist elf merchant sell three months after the dawn of time itself?

      That might be one way to nerf them, and it fits with their aloofness. They're so above everything that they have no class (or all commoners, to use ADOM 2 lingo) just a bunch of crazy racial powers. Maybe they get special mist elf only level bonuses, or maybe they forgo class powers altogether. It would at least solve the problem of the late-game-magic-using juggernaught, and give magic user players the equivalent of a troll fighter, awesome in the early game, but just TRY to get it though to the end.

  16. having a metal allergy will finally make the metallurgy skill useful!

    i do like the necromancy idea, and i think other races are a little more balanced than others think, like hurthlings have an incredible sling and stone bonus, gnomes and their crossbows, trolls and healing, dark elves and spider eating (can be useful for survival for non-food preserving).

    also i do think that game-wise, 50% damage resistance won't be such a big deal, as by mid-game, most of my deaths are from trying to fight monsters out of my depth, and in late game, most of my deaths are from death rays, aging, corruption, or magic im not resistant to.

  17. In general, I don't like the idea of class restrictions based on race. A barbarian mist elf may indeed be unlikely, but in a fantasy world, anything is possible!

    Perhaps the elf was found as a child by a roaming barbarian tribe after the elf's home has been destroyed or somesuch. They take the elf in and raise them as one of their own. Why not? (o:

    As far as balance goes, I'll let the professionals debate that finer point. I have been playing ADOM for 10 years and have yet to actually beat the darn game...

  18. As a side note, do we need more elves? Not that I have anything against them per se, but it would be great to be able to play, for example, a quickling, kobold, goblin, or minotaur. : >

  19. Love the flavor text, Thomas.

    I was dubious as to the value of adding "yet another elf" to the lineup, but their backstory as legendary primordials is excellent. They come across as alien and frightening, like the Sidhe or extraterrestrials. And their gameplay will definitely be different.

    Probably the Grey Elf description could be toned down as Silfir suggests, and the High/Grey elves could be made a little more different.

    My only quibble is this: they suffer from contact with ordinary metal, yet take half damage from melee attacks and ordinary damage from missile attacks? To me it sounds like it should be the other way around. A melee attack moves slower, and spends more time inside the body, so even if their misty nature protects them the effects of ordinary metal present inside the body should offset that. A missile attack on the other hand would have a chance of just passing through rapidly and doing little damage.

    It would make even more sense if the damage taken was linked to the metal of the weapon used to attack them (if you have that information). A lot of monsters have default weapons, e.g. caveman+club, orcs+orcish knife or spear... So for example, you could say that physical attacks (melee or missile) made with wooden, higher metal, or natural weapons do half damage, while those made with iron/steel weapons do full damage. This might be too complicated to implement, but it sounds more consistent to me.

    1. Sadly for the monsters in ADOM no information about the composition of their equipment is available. For ADOM II this is totally different though ;-) But I digress...

  20. i like Thomas' ideas. but i think if mist elf is allergic to iron then iron weapons should damage him more, which may offset 50% dmg reduction a little. also my idea of a negative feature to balance awesomness is some kind of carrying restrictions (they are misty after all). like getting burdened/strained faster because things tend to fall through misty hands

  21. here's an idea, building on what someone said about starting with a corruption, perhaps with these legendary creatures who long ago became bored with life they needed more than a little chaos to spur them into action, for what else could spur such an immortal into action but what they would fear the most? change!

  22. Here is an idea to avoid making mist elves a sort of more grayer than gray elves, and instead make them very strange and peculiar. They should not be able to learn spells from books. Even more radical, they cannot use wands (not in the usual sense, at least; more about this below). The reason is that they are so lofty that they regard books and wands just as bizarre, senseless toys made by shabby, senseless races. Instead, they can learn (better, they absorb) spells from objects. For example: from gems (maybe they should start with gemology), so if a mist elf puts a ruby in the tool slot and 'u'se it, he gets a message "as the ruby disappears in fine mist, arcane knowledge of fire magic sparks within yourself", and now, ta-dah!, he can cast Fire Bolt. Or from corpses, if strange properties of monsters (such as special breathing) are to be understood as based on magic; this seems to be the case for dragons, so, using (not eating!) the corpse of a black dragon gives Acid Bolt, an ancient black dragon gives Acid Ball; a moloch corpse could give Strength of Atlas; gorgon, Petrification; emperor liches (do they leave corpses?), Death Ray; fairy dragon and unicorn, Teleport (blink dog granting teleport seems too much); stone giant lord, Mystic Shovel. And other possibilities, always along this dual theme: on one hand, mist elves don't use the magical objects that have been produced from lower beings, because that's just rubbish to them; on the other hand, they are able to muster the magic that permeates Ancardia and its beasts, its rocks, its plants, its weather (speaking of which, the weather in the wilderness may influence them in special ways: strong winds could make them faster --- easy to stroll along with the wind if you are a misty bloke; some spells could be more effective, in the wilderness, depending on whether there is sun, clouds, rain). This dual theme could also complement well the white necromancy: if they are able to create and breathe their magic into their creations, they should also be able to destroy and absorb magic.
    I know this is going to sound as a radical proposal, but they should even not benefit (gasp!) from rings or scrolls; all these are just stupid toys to them, remember? (At least, the non-artifact ones). But they could 'u'se spellbooks, rings, wands, scrolls to get powerpoints or hitpoints (the more of them, the more rare and powerful the object): they can sense that some fool trapped some magical power inside these silly things, so they can liberate it and make it return to the Ancardian mana flow (or whatever), and, as a reward, as the object dissolves in their hands, they receive some PP and/or HP. Very rare items, such as spellbook of Wish or AoLS, could fully restore PP and HP, or, if they are already full, increase them permanently of a few points.
    Back to the source of spells: other ideas depend (if you like the dual theme) on what is magic and what is just natural processes or crafted objects. For example, are herbs magic? Spenseweed and pepper petal seems quite prodigious, so they could 'u'se them and get the Healing spell or Cure wounds.
    As for potions, I don't know. Sure, they are made by someone, but, since they are a mix of ingredients that ultimately must be found somewhere in the Ancardian nature, they are more likely to be usable by mist elves.

    1. (cont.)
      And what about artifacts? What if mist elves could dissolve artifacts? After all, they seems sort of demi-god-y. Dissolving artifacts would earn them, instead of spells, something special and dependent on the artifact; oh, and of course, it would really really really annoy some gods. Example: the crown of science can be dissolved to get fire immunity; to counterbalance the benefit, it gives also a good deal of corruption and make you doomed. Dissolving the TotRR grants a random immunity, give you the gill corruption, and it also makes much more likely encounters with powerful demons and undead (it "advertises" you as an enemy of undead and demons). The si ... I don't know ... but should be something very funny and not at all useful, maybe it could morph into a random crap item (example: "as the si dissolves in a cloud of mist, you hear a distant, booming laugther, while a scroll of amnesia appear in its place"). An even better option: instead of a fixed/multiple effect, each artifact could give a random effect out of a set, different for each artifact: this way, you should consider whether to take the risk of wasting an artifact and get something lousy (or even negative, such as a corruption; not to mention the annoyed gods, which you have in any case), or keep it as it is and use it just as everyone else does. This randomnes fits well with the absorbe/liberate theme: artifacts have many properties, so when you liberate their magic you don't know what could go back to Ancardia and what could end up infused in your body.

      So, to summarize, the way I see mist elves is that they are detached, indifferent strangers to the rest of the world in a deep, fundamental sense. What other races have managed to manufacture in the way of magic appears, to these elves, laughable, childish, not worthy of their notice. Their long life, their fairy-like nature, their magical misty body, the myths that surround their origin, all this points to a deep connection with the Ancardian world and its magic, and thus to an ability to gather what spells they need from the magic dispersed throughout the landscape, the rocks and the beings of Ancardia.
      A last remark. Even if this idea ends up completely in the trash, I think that its underlying principle is valid and worth considering: that is, the principle that mist elves are really different and they should not look like as just another good-for-wizards elf race, in the same sense that mindcrafters are really different and not just another caster class. White necromancy and iron allergy are interesting, but I think this race needs even more to set it apart from high and gray elves.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. *edited slightly for clarity*

      Hear Hear!

      I really like these ideas, especially the magic, as it gives a whole new way to play the game.

      This seems like as good a place as any to tack this on:

      In terms of tweaking the basic gameplay of ADOM, do they need to start with mithril gear? They already have auto-leveling PV, why not make their misty, incorporeal bodies incapable of supporting ANY metal at all? Maybe you could wear clothes, robes, bone, and leather (someone suggested needing gloves to handle weapons) but otherwise go without. Monks do it, and it seems like Mist elves already have a few head starts on them.

      Also, do they have to be elves? It sounds almost like they created themselves. Unless they then created the grey/high/dark eleves in their image, or one of the other gods created the other elves in THIER image, it just seems wierd. (full disclosure I know next to nothing about the D&D lore that a lot of ADOM seems to be based on) We don't call Orcs and Trolls and Goblins different types of the same creature because they're dumb violent and short lived, why should every fragile, magic using, long-lived creature have to be an elf?

  23. Since mist elves have iron allergy, that must suffer more from attacks by iron weapons, otherwise it doesn't make sense.
    Personally I dislike the idea of xp penalty =(

    Having no god to worship is an excelent point. Since the mist elves live from the Creation, they are already similar to gods themselves.
    It is logical that mist elves do not care about gods at all. Maybe because the gods of the other races are younger than mist elves (but much more powerful). The gods may even hate mist elves, but cannot do anything directly to them.

    Also I feel that mist elves should have surspising food preferences=)

  24. Mist Elf Necromancers should really start with some lumps of clay. Smiths come set to smith. Farmers come set to farmer. Why don't Mist Elf Necromancers come set to necromancer?