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#3119 [species] On behalf of the Mummy

open
nobody
5
2009-12-28
2009-12-18
Anonymous
No

Mummies, since version 0.5 (and possibly earlier, but I noticed it less before) seem to be distinctly underpowered. All the penalties they've been given are presumably based on the need to prevent them from being overpowered due to their natural ability to ignore spell hunger - which is a very important concern - but the drawbacks seem to be somewhat excessive, as explained below.

1) Low starting attributes, and no automatic attribute gain on level-up. The code cites lack of hunger and "challenge" status as the reason for giving mummies and ghouls respectively the worst stats of any race, but ghouls still get slow Strength increases with experience. Mummies, which have no indication of being intended as a difficult race to play, don't. And because their high attribute is Strength, they're automatically disadvantaged as spellcasters: a first-level mummy wizard casting Magic Dart, the simplest spell in his arsenal, has only about a 75% chance of success. And since he has only five spell points and Magic Dart does 1d8 damage, it's almost guaranteed that he'll end up having to run if he accidentally alerts any group of more than two enemies. And if they're fast (like a pack of jackals, which are common on D:1), death is nearly certain.

2) Almost universally bad aptitudes, and one of the slowest species to level. Their only aptitudes that are on an average level are fighting, spellcasting, and necromancy. This would theoretically make them best suited for use as death knights, but as I'll explain later that isn't the case. (The aptitudes aren't a problem on their own, but combined with the other items of this list it becomes worse.)

3) They're the only race to start with a negative resistance. This one actually makes sense given that they're dried, kindling-wrapped corpses, but it does give them a significant early-game disadvantage. Draconians may end up with a negative resistance as well, but it only kicks in at experience level seven when they'll have a +res item or enough hit points to survive running away. (Note also that player mummies are one of the only two corporeal undead NOT resistant to cold. The other is the "flaming corpse" monster, which has a good reason not to be resistant.)

4) Inability to drink potions. This is also a perfectly reasonable drawback for a mummy, but it hurts them far more than the other penalties. It makes them nearly worthless in melee* because they have no emergency healing source unless they've found a wand of healing, which is very unlikely in the early game. They're also now prohibited from being magically healed by vampiric weapons for whatever reason. Because of this and the second half of #1 above, mummies will have a good deal of trouble succeeding at anything.
*Makhleb only helps if you're fighting many weak creatures rather than one powerful one, and weak creatures aren't much of a problem to begin with. And it seems odd to give a non-religious class a de facto dependence on one specific god.

And I'm apparently not alone in believing that mummies are weak. According to the stats on LearnDB, mummies are third from the bottom in the ranking of non-"goodplayers'" victory by species. But within both "goodplayers" (who presumably know the game better than more casual players) and overall ranking, mummies are dead last.

Not only that, but according to remarks made by the devteam as recently as a few days ago, mummies are plagued by rampant scumming. Combined with the above statistics, this means that the percentage of legitimate winners is actually much lower than shown here. It also could mean that the mummy is too weak to hold the interest of legitimate players, who are more easily discouraged than the scummers.

Discussion

  • Harald Korneliussen

    I agree on all points. I like to play mummies occasionally to get a break from the constant search for chunks, but I find it very, very hard. They die like flies, all it takes is one early kobold with a dart of flame. Compare them to kobolds, which have ALMOST no food trouble, and you see how wimpy they are.

     
  • dpeg

    dpeg - 2009-12-18

    Where are the proposals? Also, almost nothing of the above list refers to 0.5. Rather, all of this goes back to DC 4.0.0b26. Personally, I don't mind Mummies being a challenge species. My major concern with them is that they're really hard early on (okay!) but become really powerful later on (not okay!); the same goes for ghouls, as far as I understand this. Good species should work the other way around, although really hard all the way is also fine.

     
  • Harald Korneliussen

    Do they really become all that powerful later on? I haven't gotten all that far with them, so I wouldn't know, but IME, bad apts are painful all through the game, and mummy apts are abysmal. The advantage, foodlessness, also means pretty little late in the game, except for pan/abyss.

     
  • Matt

    Matt - 2009-12-18

    The greatest strength of mummies manifests in the midgame, not the late game. In mid-game, races like the deep elves can easily cast bolt of fire and poison arrow, but face prohibitive hunger costs for doing so. Mummies can SPAM fire and poison arrow once they can actually cast them, and can abuse channeling to boot. In late game, mummies actually are at a *disadvantage* vs a deep elf since the elf can cast necromutation for mummy advantages, has better magic skills by far, and doesn't have rF-.

    If mummies need help, they need help in the early game. Either a 2-point INT boost at cost of STR or DEX, or some sort of "curse" attack to avoid dying to jackal packs would probably do.

     
  • Nobody/Anonymous

    There's this weird idea that mummies become super strong in the end game, because of resistance to torment, no mutation, and of course, no hunger. The problem is that if a mummy somehow manages to make it to that time period, you've already reached a time point where anyone else could get Necromutation, which offers a way to cure rotting at the cost of a healing potion instead of a permanent magic points. And they get a boost to a magic school, while being prohibited from the use of any of the good ones.

    You have a race which is unbelievably horrid in the early game, that is also amazingly substandard in the end game. The rationale seems to be that they're good for people who want to wait a hundred million turns on D:7 and the snake pits.

     
  • Nobody/Anonymous

    Dude? They already have rC.

    And as to the early game death thing, maybe they could be given a really small non-scaling amount of automatic damage reduction (just one or two points, so it becomes insignificant within a few dungoen levels)

    Dying early was always the problem I had when playing mummies, never lived long enough to see the midgame power increase... But would the increase really matter if they dont' stay ahead of the curve long enough to reach the end? Necromutation and the whole switching back and forth between living/undead thing does kinda outclass permanent corpse status.

     
  • KiloByte

    KiloByte - 2009-12-20

    Most players don't scum mummies just because they can, they scum them since that appears to be the only reasonable way to get them running. Trying to play the normal way is just a roulette with terrible odds. And fighter mummies don't even get any of the mid-game boosts like channeling.

    I'd give them starting stats in the range everyone else gets: most races get a sum of base stats between 16 and 22, mummies have merely 13.

     
  • Nobody/Anonymous

    agree with comment below, mummy does not need to be scummed to win, they are very hard to start and an increase of base starting stats would open up more playable combos, especially since they do not get any bonus stats when leveling, besides the standard choice at level 3,6,.... I think this should be tried before any big overhaul.

    pigvomit

     
  • Nobody/Anonymous

    Hasn't been said so far.

    Vampires are also undead and can be scummed.

    BUT vampires are way better (stats, alive/bloodless options, flight).

     
  • jpeg

    jpeg - 2009-12-28
    • summary: On behalf of the Mummy --> [species] On behalf of the Mummy
     
  • Nobody/Anonymous

    Yeah, mummies are scummed a lot. It's basically the scumming-sanctioned race. They clearly have so many disadvantages because it's easy to scum with them, scoring is based on turns spent, and they're just plain bad if you don't do it, so go for it.

    This going all the way back to 4b26 isn't entirely true either, since in that version, you could scum sif muna to get all the books. That saw a lot of use and was probably one of the first things changed in SS. There was also stat abuse with, I think it was Nemelex, which is gone now too. In other words, the best stuff you could abuse is gone, left only with the tedious and unfun rest-grinding on a level for a quadrillion rounds that also makes sure you won't get a good score. But they're still just mediocre.

    I'm of the opinion that you don't need to mess up the normal experience in order to prevent abuse, personally.. and since there's the score thing now too, I think mummies should pretty much be balanced without being concerned about rest-grinding. Which would probably mean some more stats/aptitudes like others mentioned below.

    Megane

     

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