[Skill] Blood Knight

Discussion in 'Mod Releases' started by lccorp2, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. lccorp2

    lccorp2 Member

    V1.1 Changelog:

    -:life: bonuses to tree nerfed.
    -Blood price moved to level 3 and now drains 1 health per 4 turns as upkeep.

    Blood Knight is a warrior skill that revolves around hurting yourself to deal damage to enemies and using health as a resource in much the same way as mages do with mana. The first skill, Blood Price, provides vampiric abilities at the cost of your maximum health, which is then used to fuel the other skills in the tree.

    Playtest if you'd like, and I wouldn't mind some feedback on these lines:
    -Is Blood Price, or any of the skills for that matter, overpowered?
    -Do the costs feel appropriate to what the skills do?
    -Stat gains associated with the skills fair?

    With items catering to different playstyles:

    item_crimson_rake.png potion_snobbery.png armour_crimsongauntlet.png boring_speech.png


    Blood Knight: "You have engraved runes of power on your equipment, which are powered by blood. Contrary to popular belief, this does not turn you into a sociopathic elf."

    Level 0: Crimson Aegis


    "Thanks to thirteen easy unitary payments of your maximum life-force, your Blood Knight(TM) rune-etched crimson armour has arrived in the mail, fresh-forged from the drained remains of interdimensional magical windchimes. You hope all this New-Age stuff will pay off in the long run, unlike what happened with the magnets."

    *2:stubborness: 2:block:
    *1 turn cooldown.
    *Provides a buff that provides :block:10 :magic_resist:10 :armor_asorb:3, but reduces :life: by 13.

    Level 1: Bloody Mess


    "It's not your fault you leave a trail of red wherever you go; it just seems to happen. You didn't do it! No one can prove anything!"

    *3:life: 2:melee_power:
    *Essentially Soul Steal for warriors. :melee_power:2 :armor_asorb:1 and :crit:1 buffs for killing enemies, stackable to 5 times, 7 turn duration. Intended to create a snowballing effect.

    Level 2: Blood Price


    "You've engraved very thirsty runes on your weapons. Powered by a small amount (twelve, to be exact) of your maximum life-force, they help you drain that of your foes'. They're a bit picky about sap or animatory magics, but will still drink those in a pinch."

    *1:melee_power: 1:crit:
    *25 turn cooldown.
    *Provides a removable, non-expiring buff that drains 1:life: every four turns and provides a heal of 2:life: on hit, as well as a drain of (1+0.04:life: ) :dmg_necromatic: drain on demons, animals and others as opposed to (1+0.02:life: ) :dmg_necromatic: on vegetables, constructs and undead.

    Level 3: To The Slaughter


    "Remember that time when you stole that spaceship from those space goats? Turned out they were space vegetarians who dined on space vegetables, but space goats equal space mutton, and at least you've learned to slice straight from the whole experience. Costs twelve units of blood to use. In space."

    *Cost: 12:life:, 1 turn cooldown.
    *Deals attack damage, as well as an additional :dmg_slashing:15 + 1*:melee_power: in a straight line ahead of you (template 03). This counts as an attack and is influenced by melee power. Triggers bleeding on anything that survives.

    Level 4: Burning Adrenaline


    "For twenty units of blood, you take on the aspect of a phoenix and bring your blood to a boil, enhancing your killing power over time."

    *Cost: 20:life:, 12 turn cooldown.
    *Ramping :melee_power:, :crit: and :edr: bonuses over 12 turns from 2 to 12 points. At the end of the 12 turns you explode, dealing 30 :dmg_conflagratory: everything around you in a 3x3 square.

    Level 5: Crimson Flurry


    "For eighteen simple payments of blood (without interest), you can charge the runes on your weapon and become a swirling tornado of bloody death. Lengthy and bore-inducing introduction speech for you and your companions sold separately."

    *2:melee_power: 4:crit: 4:block: 1:armor_asorb:
    *Cost: 18:life:, 4 turn cooldown.
    *Deals attack damage + :dmg_slashing:30 + 1*:melee_power: in an AoE around you (template 12). This counts as an attack and is influenced by melee power. Triggers Fleshbore and bleeding on anything that survives.


    Have fun--hopefully!

    Attached Files:

    MrAltamente and Razarus like this.
  2. jadkni

    jadkni Member

    Well, I haven't died yet, but I can say right now that Crimson Defender creates a few problems.

    Among others that it basically halves the HP costs of your other skills, since it provides 100 magic resist and the self-damage is resistable. 100 block and resist for 3 hits is also pretty strong to begin with. Maybe this should last a set number of turns instead of for a set number of incoming hits and provide some concrete damage resistance instead of block/MR?
  3. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    Three concerns. First, as the Flavor Guru around here, I feel compelled to point out that if Blood Price has reduced effectiveness against certain taxa Undead should be on the list. I actually feel that is more appropriate than Vegetables, as they at least actually have something like blood while undead tend to try out or turn gluey. I'd swap the walking corpses with the walking copses if you are concerned about reducing the power of the skill, or just and Undead to the list if you think it'd still balance.

    Second, how much bonus XP are we talking about from the second skill? Do I get it all the time do I have to buff myself to get it? It looks like a constant passive bonus right now. Bonus XP is tricky. Dredmor is essentially a huge battle of attrition, particularly for Rogues and Warriors who can't take powerful regen abilities for their primary resources. Giving out a powerful XP boosting skill gives people the ability to overcome obstacles with less risk and less damage because they are of a higher level. Most characters max their skills around level 30. If you can hit that by DL 11-12 you can easily skip the last few floors to Dredmor. A little bonus XP for every kill can add up quickly over the course of five floors, but at the same time if the number is small it doesn't really feel satisfying. The ability to get temporary bonuses to all your attack stats is good enough, maybe you should think about just leaving it at that.

    Third, if Burning Adrenaline is going to exact an HP cost it should do it straight up. The flavor of this skill is turn HP into power. You shouldn't be able to get around that by wearing a ring of ashes or finding other items with :resist_conflagratory:. A wily player could cut the price of the skill just by picking up some rings of ash (fairly common in the first few levels) and taking Promethean Magic. If they're also playing with the Essential Rebalance there's blacksmithing as well. In short, make the price an actual price, maybe a DOT effect that runs through the course of the skill.

    Finally, know that no skill should give 100 of anything. Particularly not :block: or :magic_resist:. Make it a weaker buff that lasts longer.
  4. jadkni

    jadkni Member

    Getting 30 fire resist isn't easy. Honestly, I found myself never using Burning Adrenaline because it just wasn't worth getting myself killed if I dropped below 25 HP by the end of it.

    Died in a Mysterious Portal, par standard. I found the early skills to be far more potent than the later ones. The capstone was pretty good, but the risk didn't pay off too well versus the reward and, like Burning Adrenaline, I didn't use it much. The bonuses for that level made it more than worth taking anyway though.
  5. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    No, you probably can't cut all the cost of the skill, but you might be surprised how easily you could cut a third of it off. The cost could probably be lower, and I wouldn't mind seeing a fire skill like Burning Adrenaline in another skill tree. It just doesn't seem to fit this one.
  6. lccorp2

    lccorp2 Member

    Thanks for the feedback, both of you. Some major reworking of Crimson Defender is probably going to take place; now that I think about it, I guess I was too hasty in getting some of the things out.

    Edit: Tch, the unresistable flag still isn't working as I'd hoped, either. I think I may have to scrap the skill, if I can't make the health costs stick.

    Blast, undead actually have reduced effectiveness, IIRC. *checks the spellDB file* yeah, the scaling is 0.35, along with vegetables and constructs, as opposed to 0.7 for the other taxas. I'll have to edit the initial post.

    You have a good point there, Lorrelian--I'll probably cut the XP bonus from Bloody Mess.

    If you guys feel that making the cost for BA straight-up and a bit lower will encourage people to use it, then I'll swap that around and do some playtesting before releasing v0.2.

    My idea for Crimson Flurry was to have the player build up a few stacks of Bloody Mess, then combo it along with BA for massive damage.

    So far, on the to-do list before I continue work on the other aspects:

    -Make sure self-damage is unresistable, or failing that, rebalance them so that the costs scale appropriately with the effects, like MP costs do with savvy.
    -Tweak Crimson Defender.
    -Cut XP bonus from Bloody Mess.
    -Make cost for Burning Adrenaline ashypxative and straight-up.
    -Lower costs slightly for Burning Adrenaline and Crimson Flurry.
  7. jadkni

    jadkni Member

    I'd say give Crimson Flurry a higher cooldown and make it more potent overall. A lower cost would make it viable, but it wouldn't feel like the powerhouse attack (I think) it's supposed to be.
  8. Null

    Null Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Just so you know, you can use negative heals but they're a bit buggy. It should work just fine for your abilities though. The problem is just that it doesn't quite stack if from the same ability.
  9. Loren

    Loren Member

    I like the concept, but I had something I want to mention. Right now, blood price really doesn't have a downside. Once a fight is over, it's easy to "awaken your weapon" at the end of a fight and regen most of the health back before the next fight. Consider turning the spell into something more like a mage buff- give it a higher initial blood cost, as well as a blood cost over time (your sword is still hungry, after all). After a fight, you can either turn it off until the next fight- and taking the larger health hit before battle- or keeping the "bleed" effect going the whole time. If the continuous buff is too powerful for a tier 0 skill, maybe switch it out for a weakened aegis.
  10. lccorp2

    lccorp2 Member


    I'm balancing this based on GR difficulty with its 13 turns/hp base--I think it's generally a bad idea for a mod to become obsolete at higher difficulties. As I've mentioned, there NEEDS to be a net gain from Blood Price, or else people won't bother using the skill at all as health is precious on GR. Vampirism needs to sustain a player's health; Blood Price needs to go a little further as it essentially regulates the sustainability of all the other skills--for example, one Crimson Flurry is supposed to be around one and a half Blood Prices. During my playtests, there've been times when I haven't been watching my health that closely and suffered a couple of unlucky crits, putting me close to death or killing me outright. When mages overextend themselves, they run out of mana; when Blood Knights overextend themselves, they die.

    Also, do note that Blood Price decreases in usefulness as the run progresses--by about DL 12 or 13, the average warrior build has about 200-odd HP with health equipment like emerald encrusted rings. 7-16 (optimistic) net gain is a drop in the pool compared to what most of the monsters do, which is why I added a skill to spawn offal and the like to help with scaling.

    After leafing through the current state vampirism is in and the changes made by Essence in the core rebalancing, I feel rather comfortable with the current state of the drain/heal on hit.

    As things stand, I'd rather balance Blood Price by tweaking the cooldown and health costs for the skills, rather than radically changing the mechanics. There's currently no direct way to produce a health upkeep like what mana does for mage buffs; I might try putting in a one-turn DoT into the buff itself that's called each turn when playing around with potential new mechanics and see if that's possible with the current code.

    Nevertheless, I absolutely do not want to punish melee characters with a (minimum) 1/turn health drain or additional self-damage for situations which they feel they have no control over--as an easy example, warriors already suffer enough in the base game when closing distance with chicken mobs, and it's already terribly unfun having to chase them down while being spammed at range without having an additional worry added to the list.
  11. Loren

    Loren Member


    Sorry about the misunderstanding. To me, what this skill tree sounded like something in a similar vein to your radiant wizard mod (which I happen to like)- a high risk, high reward tree. In order to "pay" for the other skill tree's abilities using blood price I need to spend a turn activating the skill in battle. Doing this will likely get me hit by at least one monster. As you said, that damage is a drop in the bucket compared to the health I would gain from using blood price. If I cast it before battle, I've payed for at most 2/3's of a crimson flurry; less if I manage to get a hit in before I lose any health. This makes it seem rather pointless to use blood price to fuel the other skills in its current form. If I'm low level I'll just melee or use other melee skills and use blood price for an occasional heal. Once I have a higher health pool, blood price becomes more detrimental than beneficial to use. Either way, it's not fueling my blood knight skills.
  12. lccorp2

    lccorp2 Member

    Ach, Loren, I'm sorry about getting testy and shouldn't have snapped my head off at you. Truce?

    From what I gather from your posts, the problems with Blood Price are:

    1) Too strong for low levels, becomes obsolete at higher levels.
    2) Takes a turn to use for doubtful benefit.

    But balancing something like this is tricky; as I can see, the problems here are pretty much shared with the base game's Vampirism. The way drains currently work, they only scale with Mpow as far as I know, which warriors absolutely don't gain any of over the whole course of a run (admittedly, cutting drain effects for different taxas by as much as 50% results in the loss of 1-2 health return per hit). Set values for effects can't be changed with increased levels in a skill, which makes for a whole bucketful of trouble.

    I tried to alleviate this which the introduction of spawning low-heath food items with the fourth skill as an extra resource; the turns needed in order to eat ensure that it's not so useful during combat, because regen while fighting should be regulated by Blood Price. I'm not sure if this idea is working--it felt okay to me, but as I've just shown in my previous post, I'm probably biased towards my own mod.

    Nevertheless, I must still disagree with the initial cost+upkeep model. I still believe that it'd be unfun, as players are unecessarily penalised for situations that're out of their control.

    The overall aim is to have players regain 2 to 3 times their initial health investment, triggered about 1/2 to 1/3 of the time.

    So here are the current possible solutions:

    -If I make it a passive proc on hit like Vampirism or Dragon Knight's Chomp, that could solve the problem of having to use a turn, but 1) that makes it feel less involved, 2) I'm not sure if I can slip in a cost that way and 3) makes the health return unpredictable, which wouldn't encourage people to use it. This, though, would mean I can easily fit in additional procs further down the tree to help with scaling without changing the mechanics players are used to.

    -I could make it a timed buff that's activated beforehand and increase the cost and cooldown appropriately, reducing the need to spam a turn. Something like Blungecap Vampirism, I guess. It'd still have to be fairly short (on a ten-turn or so timer), to keep the cost reasonable and allow players to decide whether to pull out or not. Still, it wouldn't be as bad as the current incarnation of the skill or Drinker of the Dead.

    -I could accept that it becomes obsolete with levels and introduce a stronger version of the drain on a higher-level attack skill.

    What do you think?
  13. Loren

    Loren Member

    Apology accepted.

    One thing that might help streamline blood price would be to make it activate in the same way as Kiaido from the Bushido line. Instead of a template AoE, trigger a self buff with whatever draining ability blood price would have. This would give a skill that could be activated in combat without penalty apart from blood cost (because the player gets an attack), as well as being able to use it out of combat (just whack at an empty adjacent tile- which could be viewed as "waking up" your weapon). Provided the player doesn't have too many melee skills that are spamable, i can't see why it wouldn't be used frequently or whenever available.

    This still leaves you open to add a better blood price replacement skill down the line or add onhit procs or something else if it is still needed for balance. I haven't had time to test the new version at all, so I don't have an opinion on what, if anything, is necessary.
  14. lccorp2

    lccorp2 Member

    Edit: problem has been solved. Seems there was some wonkiness with the effect=trigger flag.

    All right, I've taken your advice and made Blood Price an attack. However, it's had the side effect of requiring a target in order to trigger the buff, no matter whether I use "template" or "adjacent" to define the spell, and the self="1" flag isn't working as I'd hoped. Which is okay, I guess, considering that with it being an attack now it doesn't really matter--I suppose the fact that you can't "awaken your weapon" out of combat could be used as a balancing factor for whatever heals I dish out.

    I COULD make it like Crimson Flurry in that it triggers the cost then the main spell, doing away with the need for a target (initially, when I put cost as part of the spell, the cost triggered 13 times, once for every tile. The total 12:life: cost for To The Slaughter is made up of three individual costs of 4:life: for each of the tiles) but I could do that for CF because it was AoE instead of directional.

    In any case, while the offal might be in flavour, after a few hours of eating I realise it can get a bit tedious, so I'm reworking that effect to be a minor heal on kill, with one point added to compensate for the fact that you can't store up the health as food for later.
  15. lccorp2

    lccorp2 Member

    Three new items added: two potions and one thrown weapon.
  16. lccorp2

    lccorp2 Member

    More new items added, see changelog for details.
  17. Sniktch

    Sniktch Member

    A suggestion for the active buff skills, both to increase utility and reduce tedium/gaming the cost:

    Instead of being "you take x damage and then get Y attacks/hits", make them PERMANENT buffs, self-removable and recastable, but with a -:life: cost as well. For an example, Practical Geology's Stone Fist gives +5 :melee_power: - but also has a massive :counter: and :crit: debuff as a cost, with no upkeep or mana-on-cast cost, just a 6 cooldown. Blood pact could give the vampirism effect - at the cost of being permanently debuffed by some amount of :life:; I'd think 8 might be close but not QUITE enough for that, maybe 12? Crimson Aegis might be worth 15 or 20:life:, seeing as the crown of thorns artifact has about the same debuff. Burning Adrenaline is more an attack than a buff, so could probably be left as-is, as could all the rest. This also gives a nice effect of NOT wasting Blood Pact charges when throwing or shooting something - the cooldown as a balancer honestly doesn't do much since I never leave a cleaned room without activating Blood pact and recasting Crimson if it's got 2 or less ablates on it. Also, this makes you not need to make it an attack anymore, removing some of the weirdness of needing to smack air to wake up my sword. Instead, view it as opening a conduit, making the weapon a part of your circulatory system to empower it, same for the armor - constantly feeding the empowered items, leaving you weaker personally but with powered gear.

    Also, not sure if this is a bug or intended: Slaughter Healing is proccing on normal melee kills, not just kills made with the skill. By the strict reading of the skill listing above, it could be either.

    And fun fact: this plus Geology both turbocharge Throwing, as they give GOBS of :melee_power: and that is the key for mulching foes with throwing tools.
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  18. Loren

    Loren Member

    As an attack, you can be using blood pact to smack an adjacent monster mid battle. That pretty much negates the downside to using it, as well as most of the need to make sure it has a full stack after that battle.
  19. Sniktch

    Sniktch Member

    Two issues with that, Loren: One, if Blood Pact has exactly one stack left and you use it as an attack, the buff doesn't refresh - it just dies. Two, if you've cleaned out a room, then you can't use it as an attack to restart it - you have to whack the air. This is more common than it would seem, since the refresh on the buff is double the number of hits it gives. And yes, I do know the leech would have to be toned down to balance out an "always on" effect, even with an always-on :life: debuff. As it is, it may be a bit too strong for the four hits it gives, even accounting for enemy dodges/blocks/counters - I'm quite often seeing 8-10 drain per single hit.
  20. lccorp2

    lccorp2 Member

    Thanks for downloading and playing, Sniktch!

    I understand what you're getting at--I'm one of those people who mod their lucky pick values to avoid tedium of recasting over and over again. However, I'm not so sure about the permanent health decrease, though. It could work for Aegis, I guess, I'll try out the code from Practical Geology and see if it works any better than the current setup.

    My main worry, though, is keeping the flavour of using health in place of mana as a resource--I think what you're suggesting is something like what Qigong does for mana, which I'm not sure I want. Permenantly chopping off 12 health as long as the buff is active would decrease tedium, true, but if your health isn't full (which it shouldn't constantly be, by the time I got To The Slaughter) then there's not much in the way of actual HP cost after that. The cooldown on Blood Price is more an in-combat regulator than out of combat one, so I'm not too worried about what happens after clearing a room. Also, I'm also worried that substentially decreasing maximum health might put off players using the higher cost skills, since they have less of a buffer to play around with.

    Still, you have a pretty good point--I may change the Aegis mechanics or at least increase the charges and the cost proportionally to help, but I'm agreeing with Loren on the BP mechanics.

    The flavour of the skill is to encourage you to wade into the thick of things and start killing, and the wasted charges on BP if you use throwing/crossbows was intentional (if there were a way to make trigger-on-kill melee only, I'd have used it for Bloody Mess). Slaughter healing proccing off normal kills is intended at the moment, a 25% chance to get 4 HP back on a melee kill. As had been discussed earlier, it's mainly there to help offset the decreasing scaling as you go deeper. Not sure how effective others think the current mechanics are, though.

    Hmm, that's interesting; I haven't tried a BK/PG run. Might try it once I'm somewhat done with Pokemon-ism.

    Still, thanks for your feedback! I'm going to go back and see if I can't make Aegis less tedious to use; 5 was chosen as the number of charges because that's what a lot of the default brittle buffs use.