The interactive fiction roguelike

Month: October, 2014

Herm’s weapons

by Victor Gijsbers

In Kerkerkruip 9, the subtle god Herm gifted very pious (9 favour) players the caduceus, a weapon that had a mind-based chance of putting anyone hit by it to sleep. This weapon is quite strong, since putting people to sleep is a very powerful effect. And yet, the caduceus wasn’t really working as the final Herm gift.

A player who has sacrificed most of her powers to the subtle god is a player who has invested in being stealthy. She’ll have a large stealth bonus, and several scrolls of shadows. So what she really needs is a weapon that will allow her to strike from the shadows with maximum impact — or, failing that, something that allows her to attack and remain hidden. The caduceus wasn’t filling those roles. Putting someone to sleep normally only happens after several blows, so normally long after you’ve appeared from the shadows. You’d often be better off using a dagger, or at least a weapon that maximises damage. This meant that it wasn’t really worth increasing your Herm favour to the very high levels.

So, I’ve redesigned Herm’s weapon gift. The caduceus is still in the game, but is now a weapon that may be found lying around in the dungeon. Herm now gifts you a crossbow called Snipe, and gifts it much earlier, at 3 favour.

Crossbows are new, and mark the appearance of reloadable weapons in Kerkerkruip. They were always already part of the underlying ATTACK system, but we didn’t use them in the game. Mechanically, reloadable weapons take several turns (depending on the weapon) to be returned to a state in which they can be used to attack. This means that in general, you’ll use them once during a fight and then switch to another weapon. (For reasons of convenience, reloading outside of combat always takes only one action.)

Snipe is a crossbow with a very long reload time, but it also has the special feature that, with a probability of 10% times your Herm favour, it teleports the person hit by it. This is a very useful effect for stealthy characters, since if your victim is teleported away, it can’t notice you. You will stay hidden even after the attack. With high Herm favour, Snipe will enable you to repeatedly hunt down your quarry, striking from the shadows again and again.

Until the effect fails to trigger, of course, in which case you’d better have a plan B.

New item: armour of thorns

by Victor Gijsbers

In the last weeks, Kerkerkruip has seen quite a bit of technical development. We have adapted our code to Inform’s new verb system; we’ve integrated a suite of automatic tests; we’ve done work that was necessary to make Kerkerkruip accept seeds, which in turn will allow different players to play the same dungeon; and we now have an automatic daily build, which you can find here. (It’s the one with “git” in the name; but be warned, it has very much alpha quality right now.)

But for the general player, news about features that show up in play is perhaps more interesting. So let me tell you about a new item I added to the game today: the epic armour known as the armour of thorns.

Or rather, it is known as that when you first find it. The armour of thorns is a blood magic item, and for 12, 18 and 24 blood it can be upgraded to the armour of nails, the armour of spikes and the armour of spears. At each level, the armour doesn’t so much help to defend you, but harms anyone who damages you in melee combat. The armour of thorns deals 1 damage to the attacker, and this increases to 2, 3 and 4 as the thorns grow into nails, spikes and spears. Obviously, that is quite powerful even at low levels. Dealing 6 to 8 damage is respectable for most monsters, and getting 2 or 3 damage in return makes your attacks between 25% and 50% less effective (in terms of how much it changes the health difference between the two parties).

Most items need to see some testing in play, and this one is no exception. I am particularly concerned that the blood cost might be too high, so that might well get lowered. It will depend on how good the armour of thorns is by itself. But, some good news for the player: there is a 19% chance that this item starts out as the armour of nails, and a 1% chance that it starts out as the armour of spikes. That would certainly be a great find in the dungeon.