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.