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User Info: Primus_Ultimas

Primus_Ultimas
7 years ago#1
I hate flooding this board with more variants and whatnot, but like Slash 'Em, GFAQs ain't got no love for Stone Soup. Before I start gushing on how awesome it is, let me grab you a link

http://crawl.develz.org/wordpress/

The original LDC has been in limbo for many years similar to NH, but SS is still current with the latest release being just a couple months ago actually. I found this gem last night as I was getting ready for bed and ended up playing for a couple hours in the tutorial modes. Played a bit more today. Having grown up with Nintendo and the like I can't seem to wrap my head around ASCII graphics, so the inclusion of tiles makes me very happy, and it looks MUCH better than NH tiles. In other words, I don't need to squint to see things and there is much detail. So much so that when you change equipment it's reflected in your sprite on-screen.

I also like the sprawling maps much much more than NH's grid-based room-and-corridor style maps. Feels more like an actual dungeon crawl as opposed to just a methodical ransacking of some wizard's dungeon/tower. I have played Dwarf Fortress as well, but the maps are just too much for me. Yeah I know, I know. The whole point of DF is like playing Sim City in ASCII, but I could never get into either of those titles: too much micromanagement for me.

In addition to the superior tiles and map layouts, I appreciate the non-traditional user interface. Most basic actions can be carried out through the mouse or a combination of mouse and ctrl/alt/shift keys. One corner of the screen is given to a basic character sheet with stats and whatnot, below is your inventory which has tabs for spells and studying spellbooks, and another that lists monsters and other creatures in sight. It doesn't feel cumbersome to tab over to my spells and buff up when I see a horde coming at me, and I remember more often to use my potent items like wands and potions because it's all right there in front of me and quickly accessed.

The gameplay is much like Nethack and Slash 'Em, but I feel like I have more control. Maybe it could be previous experience that allows me to just jump in and have half a clue as to what I'm doing, but the tutorial modes with their preset maps and characters and notations are a welcome addition. The unique UI helps as well. Also, your race and class decisions don't limit your playstyle like in NH/SE. In those, they have hard set limitations on what different combinations can learn and do. Stone Soup lets you do what is recommended for a given combination, but if you feel like training your minotaur berzerker in some spells, that's entirely up to you! Just realize it's gonna be a while before he's any good at it, but it's still your choice.

Something else I find is an improvement is the fact that you don't have to look up an inordinant number of charts to figure things out. While this relates more to how spoiled your gameplay is and is therefore more of a personal preference, I would rather be playing the game over searching for what something means.

In closing, I find that Stone Soup just feels better overall. If my character dies, I feel more like it was my own fault as opposed to playing Nethack and feeling like most deaths are at random. Or because I have no idea what the little patch of pixels is supposed to be. Or because I got ganged up on by a bajillion enemies I couldn't have possibly seen coming. Or because of.... whatever. Of course this is all just my opinion, and YMMV, and you might be addicted to DF or whatever else you are playing. I would like to hear opinions from people who have/are played/playing Stone Soup, collaboration makes it more fun.
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User Info: crate3333

crate3333
7 years ago#2
I agree that Crawl feels a lot like Nethack-done-right. It actually tells you how the game works, a nice change from Nethack's you-basically-need-to-be-spoiled-to-win approach (in fact there really isn't much around as far as Crawl spoilers go other than some stuff about combat that doesn't tend to make a huge difference). It remains very challenging even after you know how the game works (whereas the bulk of Nethack's challenge is figuring out--or, more likely looking up--how the game works and then not getting unlucky with poison or the like), but an unspoiled player playing Crawl might do better than an unspoiled player playing Nethack (I can't really say for sure though since I also found Crawl after Nethack).

The better UI (particularly autoexplore and inter-level travel) and the fact that the Crawl devteam is openly against any sort of productive grinding makes Crawl much smoother to play. I like that it's very nearly impossible to go "godmode", whereas in Nethack if you have average luck and make it to the Castle you are then unkillable after you use up your wishes except for in the Sanctum, Air, or Astral.

Magic is leaps and bounds more fun in Crawl than in Nethack since it's far more powerful, your MP actually recharges at a reasonable rate, and there's much more variety in your spells. Of course since Crawl skills actually mean something if you go into magic you won't be able to bash stuff to death later.

I like the larger, more varied maps and in particular the multiple sets of stairs between levels. In Nethack if you find some tough group of monsters in the main dungeon it's quite possible that you don't really have the option to go around. In Crawl you can always find another route. This lets the monsters be significantly more deadly individually but keep the game winnable.

I do think Crawl has some flaws ... right now heavy armor is pretty much always a bad choice because it's only maybe better defensively than light armor and you give up spellcasting to use it. The game is tremendously unforgiving, and if you're not looking for a challenge or can't enjoy dying you absolutely shouldn't play it. Nethack does admittedly have more flavor to it, and in particular the very end of the game in Nethack is far better than the very end of Crawl. Also, while Crawl ostensibly has options about which runes you should collect, in reality you always pick up the two from the Lair (Swamp/Snake/Shoals) because they're the easiest, and then for the majority of characters you'll grab Vault as well, though Slime or getting lucky after getting cast into the Abyss are options. (Or Tomb for Necromancers, even ... I've done that before). It's possible to rely on something for a while and then hit a wall when it stops working: poison magic fails miserably in Lair, or necros realizing that they can't make enough zombies or abominations to clear Zot, or using non-Earth conjurations and then running into omniresistant enemies, or stabby characters who tend to run into a LOT of trouble once you can't make enemies hibernate any more. If you do get in that situation you're unfortunately kind of out of luck in a lot of cases, since if you didn't know your strategy was going to stop working and you went all-in on giving it your experience you now have nothing else to fall back on.

I feel like the more varied and smoother gameplay more than makes up for the flaws though.
The only opinion one should care about is one's own.
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User Info: Primus_Ultimas

Primus_Ultimas
7 years ago#3
Hmmm.... So it still railroads character builds, just not nearly as bad as NH. Good information. I haven't much played with casters yet, but I am doing mighty well with 'zerks and monks. Just had a TrMo get to the temple - I was expecting a little more, but meh - and sold my soul to Trog, and shortly after found a ring of sustenance! Wonderful gear for a troll, and the fact they fight well barehanded and eat anything even if it's rotting made it even better. Killed many PC ghosts I been making, a few named NPCs, found a buncha wands and whatnot..... Finally went down to the ogre-mage NPC after he went invisible and had a couple centaurs backing him up. I wouldn't have tried to take him on if I knew they were waiting for me.

And what's this '~3Kg ziggurat shopping center' I keep not-seeing in my game? I'm jogging down a hallway then it suddenly stops and asks if I want to add it to a list of some sort. I have yet to encounter a shop of any kind yet, so I don't know what a regular one looks like even.
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User Info: crate3333

crate3333
7 years ago#4
Nethack doesn't railroad any builds ... you can win with anything you like because everyone can pick up a long sword and wear DSM and skill experience doesn't do much once you get a weapon past "unskilled" and remove the miss penalty from that.

And what's this '~3Kg ziggurat shopping center' I keep not-seeing in my game?

Ziggurats are a 27-floor arena which give you loot after each floor (?). Something like that. I've not entered one myself since they're pretty rare apparently and by the time I'm not terrified of them I have a character I don't want to lose so the few I've seen have been untouched. The number you listed is the entry fee.

Finally went down to the ogre-mage NPC after he went invisible and had a couple centaurs backing him up. I wouldn't have tried to take him on if I knew they were waiting for me.

You probably don't want to fight Erolcha early on anyway. She's one of the nastier uniques, especially if she decides to cast you into the Abyss. Much better to minimize the time you spend on her level unless you have some sort of trump card (Mephitic Cloud or Evaporate are probably the best).
The only opinion one should care about is one's own.
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User Info: Primus_Ultimas

Primus_Ultimas
7 years ago#5
Hmm.... Maybe I'm just terrified of the different casters' squshiness in the early game?

Erolcha, yes, that's the one that did me in! What do you mean I don't hit the ~16 foot tall humanoid? I can clearly see its outline behind the blast of magick coming at m--
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User Info: crate3333

crate3333
7 years ago#6
Early game is not when casters are squishy in Crawl. If you have some sort of defensive spell (especially Mephitic Cloud, Evaporate, or Conjure Flame) you're actually much harder to kill early-on than a non-caster (note that your HP is the same because the Fighting skill hasn't yet separated casters from non-casters, and heavy armor early on is similarly less effective than a robe or leather because of no Armor skill). But when you get to the Vault and getting unlucky on two consecutive crossbow bolts can kill you, yeah, you're pretty squishy then.
The only opinion one should care about is one's own.
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User Info: Primus_Ultimas

Primus_Ultimas
7 years ago#7
I tried the Spriggan Venom Mage I seen advertised elsewhere, but it didn't seem to 'click' with me. I totally get why it's supposed to work, but I just can't seem to make it happen. And I never really like the monks semi-enforced vegan conduct in NH, so playing a character that can ONLY eat vegan seems like a drastic penalty. I understand the why of it all, I just don't like it much, although I am giving SpVM their fair shake.

I then went on to play a vampire necromancer and absolutely loved how it works. "Eating" is optional and sometimes not a good idea depending on the situation, decent unarmed attack, necro spells (duuhh), and later on flight as a semi-intrinsic makes for a potent combination. Sure, undead have special super effective stuff that kills just them, but isn't that true of just about anything?

I still keep finding myself going back to the troll monk though. The ability to eat nearly anything without worry is awesome and more than makes up for the super fast metabolism when coupled with the super awesome regen. Bare hands are good at combat AND they aren't afraid to clean a corpse bare-handed either. I have my best one going so far and have yet to eat anything but chunks, usually they rot away too fast to eat them because I'm engorged. I'm tellin ya, with the right rings, ammys, and wands these guys appear unstoppable! They are also what I choose when I want to clear out my old ghosts as well, that SpVM I spoke of was stupid and tried to take me in melee. If it had hung back and used spells from a distance I might not have made it.

Speaking of that, how do they learn better spells after death? Is it just something the game does to beef them up? I never learned poison cloud, yet the ghost had and used it on me...... while standing in melee o_O
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User Info: crate3333

crate3333
7 years ago#8
Food should not be a problem in Crawl. I have only had serious food problems once in my time playing it and I don't do anything special to try to conserve my available food anyway (I don't even worry about spellcasting food costs). Spriggans may be forced-vegan, but they also consume very little food per-turn so it balances out. Spriggans are particularly powerful at being stealthy and getting stabs in on unsuspecting opponents, and if you want to try that playstyle Enchanter is probably the best choice. I don't think SpVM is particularly bad but I don't feel it's a notably strong combination either; poison magic in general is powerful early on and most races can take advantage of that just fine.

The really tricky thing about Vampires is that you skill slowly. This obviously isn't important very early on, but by midgame you'll be weaker than most other races at what your skills provide, so you really have to make use of your vampire-ness to make up for that fact. (They also have low base stats, but that's not particularly important with how Crawl currently treats strength/agility/intelligence). Probably the simplest advantage to press is that low-blood Vampires are very stealthy so you can pick your fights and ensure you don't get caught out-of-position.

Trolls are, by the way, extremely powerful early on, but they fade in the midgame and are actually among the most difficult races to win with. The big problem they have is that, somewhat misleadingly, they actually become rather squishy later on: their high base HP more than outweighs their low EV (from being big) early-on, but as you progress their HP growth, while still good, doesn't outpace the fact that you're not going to be good at dodging attacks (EV penalty from being large plus bad Dodging aptitude) nor have access to good heavy armor. So you end up with high HP but low EV and AV and find yourself very vulnerable. (Ogres, by the way, have the same problem but also don't have a good early game. They're definitely a race intended as a challenge). They're probably the easiest race for the first few dungeon levels, and berserkers in particular can slice through anything--even Sigmund--without worry until around the Temple. (By the way, if you're going to be worshiping Trog, I recommend just adopting him at the character creation screen by choosing Berserker over Monk: you'll basically just be a Monk who already has a god. Monks are really for if you want to choose someone else to worship).

Speaking of that, how do they learn better spells after death? Is it just something the game does to beef them up? I never learned poison cloud, yet the ghost had and used it on me...... while standing in melee o_O

More likely it was Mephitic Cloud. Ghosts don't gain spells after they die. It's not too surprising it would cast it while standing next to you though, seeing as all ghosts are poison-immune.
The only opinion one should care about is one's own.
We did. You did. Yes we can. No.

User Info: crate3333

crate3333
7 years ago#9
Well I actually have a fairly interesting character going so I figured I'd share it so far.

First, let me say that I love Necromancy. It's such a deliciously varied and delightfully powerful magic school. In fact Necro magic is probably the single most flexible magic school in the game: you have damage (Pain, Agony, Dispel Undead, and stuff like Bolt of Draining); you have healing (Regeneration, Vampiric Draining, Bornjor's Revivification); you have summons; you even have some utility stuff like Sublimation of Blood or Corpse Rot. If you happen across a pain weapon--or create one temporarily with Excruciating Wounds--you also can turn that into maybe the most powerful weapon brand in the game, at least when it works. So if you want to play a one-school hybrid melee-caster type, Necromancy is a good "one school."

I managed that once, winning with a Kenku necromancer back in 0.5 IIRC. Since then I've been trying on-and-off with Sludge Elves, planning to beat stuff with a quarterstaff as my weapon. I've had a few that should have won but didn't because I made silly mistakes. My latest is obviously not dead yet, but we'll see what happens from here.

Right out of the gate there wasn't anything terribly interesting for a while except I suppose for running into an imp with a wand of flame (I left him behind quickly, since I had no quarterstaff yet and Necro magic does nothing to imps). I got to the Temple and adopted Kiku as my god before finding any staves, but one appeared not too long afterward.

An aside--Kiku is actually not terribly boring any more. Although providing corpses does not seem a particularly interesting power, it turns out to work quite nicely with Necro magic. Those corpses are great for Corpse Rot, and Corpse Rot conveniently leaves skeletons now (!) so you can get a shield of miasma followed by a shield of bones. Or of course there's always the option to ask for some corpses in a quiet spot and pile them up for an Abomination. In a real pinch, you can even ask Kiku to give you a sacrifice to trigger your prayer-invoked Torment, though even with Kiku's protection torment remains quite painful to use. None of this really comes into play in this current SENm's life though.

Not too long after finding my staff I happen across a wolf spider. Being recklessly fearless as usual I engage and manage to make it flee, but there's a scorpion behind it and I am left with meager HP and MP stores. Luckily I drain the scorpion to death and am able to retreat around a corner to Regenerate myself through the remainder of the wolf spider's very painful poison, and then finish off the menace itself. After I see my ~450 exp in my exp pool I realize just how out-of-depth that spider was and remind myself to be a bit more careful.

(Continued below)
The only opinion one should care about is one's own.
We did. You did. Yes we can. No.

User Info: crate3333

crate3333
7 years ago#10
The truly interesting find so far in my travels happens not long after. I'm read-ID'ing a scroll and it's a scroll of acquirement! Okay ... asking for a book is silly because Kiku will give me the book later ... armor is silly since I actually have something equipped in every slot ... gold, food, staves, and wands aren't a pressing need right now ... I guess I could grab some jewelry ... oh wait! I'm using a staff--let's ask for a weapon since lajatangs are rare but very powerful!

I get handed a vampiric lajatang.

It's worth noting at this point that I have not used a vampiric weapon in a long time, not since they were retooled. So I have no real idea about how strong this lajatang is.

Well it's a doozy. Like any lajatang it hits fairly hard, but ... wow, that healing! It's as much healing on average as Regeneration, except that it obviously stacks with that spell. Very powerful indeed. This may have just spoiled my plans to grab a lajatang of pain from Kiku eventually, since anything that can be hit by pain is affected by vampirism as well. Then again, maybe not since pain hits really hard. I'll have to think about it.

I also found an amulet of the gourmand, which means that my vampiric weapon will not provide any hunger problems. My equipment in full right now is that +4/+3 vampiric lajatang; leather armor, a cloak, a wizard hat, gloves, and boots with a combined +5 in enchantments and nothing else; a +1 ring of protection, a ring of protection from magic, and the aforementioned amulet of the gourmand. Unfortunately quaff-ID'ing a potion of mutation handed me blurry vision, but it also gave me +4 AC so it's not all bad. In all I'm XL 12 with 77 HP, 16 AC, and 18 EV, so not too fragile, especially with my vampiric healing and Necromantic spells at my disposal. I cleared most of the lair and ventured into Orc until I got scared by some bright-green "o" (a high priest? All I remember is that bright colored "o"s are very scary!) and returned to D: 12.

At this point I suppose my course of action is to proceed down the dungeon and just build up my strength. Hopefully I'll come across some better jewelry and an ego robe or leather armor to supplement my current equipment.
The only opinion one should care about is one's own.
We did. You did. Yes we can. No.
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