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The New Brawler
Dec 12, 2020 15:04

Gird your loins

The new and improved dwarven brawler is here. We look forward to feedback so we can do final tuning.

Please see the character sheet or forum for the full description, but here are highlights:

UPPERCUT - is now an ability instead a skill.
RESILIENCE - base resilience increased to 25% and multiplied when hunkering.
FRENZY - increases both sword attack and uppercut ability when 3+ adjacent monsters.
GIRD LOINS - gain attack/defense bonus for the entire next round if you are not attacked while hunkering.
FEAT ABILITY - during feats, you have a 50% chance of cleaving when you hit with a charge.
HIGHER LEVELS - make your way to level 24

Also, the modifiers for charge attacks are now based on where you finish the charge, not where you started. So charge into that frenzy!

(New huntress coming soon.)

Dec 12, 2020 15:08

Below is a full description of the new brawler. Please let us know what you think.

PROFICIENCIES: Sword - d10 Bow - d8 Shield - d12


Charge: Advance and +3 sword attack

Resilience: 25% resistance to fireballs, breath, or slime

Uppercut: 30% to hit with uppercut if sword misses

Feat Ability: Hits when charging have a 50% chance of cleaving for 2 damage


Hunker I: When Guarding: +1 defense
Hunker II: Resilience doubled
Hunker III: Resilience tripled

Frenzy I: If 3+ adjacent monsters: +2 attack and +20% to uppercut
Frenzy II: +3 attack and +30% uppercut
Frenzy III: +4 attack and +40% uppercut

Bellow I - Call the worm
Bellow II - Call grumpy worm (+2 attack)
Bellow III - Call enraged worm (+4 attack)

Gird Loins I: If not attacked when hunkering, next round gain +1 attack/defense
Gird Loins II: +2 attack/defense
Gird Loins II: +3 attack/defense

Dec 13, 2020 1:24

After trying out the Brawler, the Cleave feature does not seem to work 50%. It only seemed to work about 10% of the time. I kept waiting for it to activate, but it occurred very rarely.

I never used Gird Loins, because there is almost always something to charge.

Dec 13, 2020 2:55

Unlike Focus, Gird Loins disappears if you move after hunkering. Not sure if that was intended.

Dec 13, 2020 5:52

Soooo…. the purple worm is no longer an ally? My dwarf just got attacked by one!! Now, I don’t like the dwarf character very much (I know a lot of people do), but that one thing makes him pretty cool and unique - and you took it away. Why be able to call something that’s going to fricking ATTACK you! And, since i’m already in gripe mode, why the H*LL can’t the dwarf call purple worm in the daily hunt? the other characters get to use ALL their powers. But the dwarf gets nerfed.

Don’t misunderstand. I am deeply grateful that you have created this wonderful game that I can play for free. A bright spot amid all the suck of 2020. Thank you

Dec 13, 2020 9:20

@ChadIcon - The worm is still the dwarf’s ally. That was a bug, which should now be fixed.

@raand9999 - Yes, that was intended. Gird Loins just affects the following round. We are open to changes, though.

@Agamemnon - The 50% chance for a charge to cleave is only during feats.

Dec 13, 2020 9:34

If the dwarf got attacked by a worm that’s got to be a bug. That’s one of the key features of the dwarf!

I’ve never seen a purple worm in the hunt (playing the swordsman) so I assumed they were turned off from appearing randomly, but I think it’s a fair question to ask why one of the dwarf’s skills is turned off in the hunt. Summoning something that can do 11 damage (if you can call an enraged worm) could be a big advantage in a room full of monsters where you can’t move. Maybe even worth taking hits for…

Dec 13, 2020 9:36

(my comment crossed with Rowdius’)

Dec 13, 2020 9:44

N on e uses the dwarf, that’s why you worked on that one next so that we’d have to wait another month or 2 for the Elf, which will probably be nerfed instead of made better, thank you for the joke

Dec 13, 2020 11:00

On the occasions where I’ve had a free pass to play Advanced, I’ve found that the full advantage is gained by being able to choose the right hero for the situation. In fact if you look at the Deeds, you’ll see that people end games using all three characters.

The dwarf is good in rooms where the monsters are badly spaced for the elf to leap around but there is still space to charge several monsters, and in rooms where summoning a purple worm is advantageous. The elf is devastating in almost empty rooms with a multi-hit monster - just shoot and move away until you have enough focus to hit, and in rooms where she can jump across a pit and make the monsters walk round. The swordsman is great when the monsters are close together but channelled so he is not too badly surrounded and can press and hopefully skewer or cleave. Bull Rush can compress the monsters and make space for Full Swing. If you are near the doorway, you can switch half way through, so clear out the close by single-hit monsters with the dwarf and/or human and then send the elf in to finish off the multi-hit boss monster in the room. Or something.

Dec 13, 2020 12:06

Hey raand9999, thanks for the summary of advantages. I agree with them. Frequently, I use multiple characters in the same room. Onward!

Dec 13, 2020 12:18

Regarding the new Dwarf, after playing the Dwarf several times, I have observed the following:

Because Cleave rarely came up, I decided to track the frequency. First, I limited the count to “qualified” cleaves, which I identified as a charge, where the opponent had two or more hit points, and the Cleave actually hit. (At the time, I did not know about the Feat requirement.)

Out of 33 counts in the dragon lair, there were no cleaves at all. Previously, in the mines and caverns, there was only 1, but I did not tally the total tries. There were at least as many attempts….

With the ruling that it may only occur during a feat, although I did not tally the number of feat incidences, it NEVER came up for me, and there were many charges during feats as well.

By the way, I agree because the Dwarf cannot summon the worms in the Daily Hunts, it limits his success rate, which is disappointing. Although the most entertaining to listen to his comments, he seems the least effective character, even with the changes.

I’m still unsure about the need and usefulness for Gird loins. Does anyone use and like it? Am I missing something?

Dec 13, 2020 17:46

I’ve tried Gird Loins with the dwarf. It’s handy for +1 if you can position yourself initially in the room where you can hunker, allowing the monsters to move once, and then charge. Usually after that you’re next to a monster, or you can charge something. If the room is so empty and you need to build up an attack point, you’re probably better off with the elf. Unlike Focus, Gird Loins doesn’t stack (no point in hunkering two turns waiting for the monster to be in range) and you lose it if you move.

Dec 14, 2020 14:48

Due to lack of time, I haven’t tried out anything, yet. But three comments nevertheless:
@thosewhodontlikedwarf The dwarf is also a good option if (fire) scrolls are rare, but potions not. But of course you need a strong shield.
Gird Loins seems interesting to me. I thought it might be interesting in the first round in the lair. Maybe the tactical depth could be improved if it is not increased by value, but by time (e.g. for 1 turn, 2 turns, 4 turns) and if it could stack. But others that have played it already should state something.
Maybe it would be fair to be able to use the worm in the hunt 3 times in total.

Dec 15, 2020 1:16

OK- now with fresh impressions:
I played 43 red dragons with ONLY dwarf (even in tunnels and so on). I got a decent 8,8,8 drop (the 8-sword after 10 reds) and mithril after 20 dragons. So that was “OK”.
I had 3 charges during feat and cleaved all three times (but one was just to increase the number, not because I would have done it normally). So that works. But it is so rare, that I would prefer to make it a 100% skill (if it hits) without another dice. Otherwise it is just hardly of any use. Hunker gives no feat, so there is not a lot of possibility nor capability to be overpowered. A small chance to have tripple damage would be like “YEAH”.
All in all it doesn’t feel much different to the previous dwarf. I used gird loins exactly once. So that is not of much help. Compared with my best-elf-game-ever at 42 reds in campaign mode this didn’t feel “good” here. With the elf I just consumed 2 potions in total. Of course that was outstanding, but the dwarf could never do so, because he does not have a “sweat home spot” concerning the room layout. Elf can have a dramatical performance boost with the right layout. Dwarf… well, a bit if there is some space. So maybe one could make gird loins more depend on the layout and not the attacks. E.g. it could give 1 defense&attack if hunkering (just ideas) at the entrance of a room, adjacent to more pits than monsters, or adjacent to no pits. Maybe also for several rounds. Maybe if it is very strong like “2 for 3 turns”, it could be of use, but currently the situation to use it must be “created” and that is very costly in a room full of dragons.

Dec 15, 2020 8:27

I agree with Rellik that the dwarf does not “feel” much different from the previous dwarf, right now. However, I am not sure that anything that either of us do right now is going to be a fair test of what an (eventual) level 24 Dwarf is going to be capable of.

I have read over the skill descriptions several times, and come away with the impression that the main advantage of an advanced-level dwarf (against dragons) is going to be an improved chance of surviving each air attack. Corresponding to this, I think that my (level 17) dwarf is now surviving a slightly larger number of dragons than it did before–but not enough to play an entire game with dwarf only.

I have also been trying to understand what situations the “gird loins” skill is useful in, either for improved offense or defense.

Offense: The “gird loins” skill, if I am reading correctly, requires that NONE of the dragons in the room attack during a given “hunkering” turn (yes?). That mostly seems to happen when there are very few dragons left in the room; and a dragon that is next to you, having only one hit point left retreats, rather than attacking, during the move that you “hunker”. Is it the case that when you charge, on the following turn, your normal “charge” bonus is increased by your “gird loins” bonus, to give you a much higher probability of finishing off the final dragon(s)?

My subjective impression is that the new dwarf has become much stronger (than the old dwarf) when most of the dragons in the room are already dead, and a mopping-up operation is happening. Is my impression correct? And is this an automatic consequence of “gird loins” being in operation, even without any deliberate strategic moves on my part?

Dec 15, 2020 9:45

Gird Loins (originally Fortify) was inspired by a desire to give the dwarf something more dwarf-like to do when the best option was to simply plink an arrow at an approaching monster. However, we should have given more thought to how it plays in the dragon lair, which is all people really care about. :)

The main problem is that in a room full of dragons, it’s too difficult to trigger. So how about this change:

You trigger Gird Loins if you hunker and don’t counterattack. That way ranged attacks don’t prohibit the girding. Also, it’s a consolation prize if you guard during melee and everyone hits you.

To Rellik’s point about the dwarf needing a “sweet spot” for the dragon layout, I think the sweet spot should be a situation where he is surrounded by as many adjacent dragons as possible. (even though he’ll be impossible to see!)

Do you think that’s a good goal? And if so, what about these changes to foster it:

Frenzy I: If 3+ adjacent monsters, +3 attack, +30% uppercut
Frenzy II: If 4+ adjacent monsters, +5 attack, +50% uppercut
Frenzy III: If 5+ adjacent monsters, +7 attack, +70% uppercut

Frenzy III would be a rare event, but if you could somehow gird your loins then leap into the middle of 5 dragons and hunker, it would be pretty epic.

Hunker I: When guarding, +1 defense (+3 total)
Hunker II: When guarding 2+ hp monsters, +2 defense (+4 total)
Hunker III: When guarding, resilience doubled

For the feat ability, I like giving 100% cleave chance to charge. But how about we also add that if you hunker during a feat, you immediately gird your loins. So you could charge into a pack of dragons, and if you trigger a feat (with charge and frenzy), you could then hunker with girded loins.

Dec 15, 2020 13:23

A couple of questions and issues:

(1) When you refer to a +3/+5/+7 “attack”, does the term “attack” include the counter-attack that occurs in melee while defending? To get the indicated bonus, does the Dwarf need to swing at an opponent (and only get the bonus against THAT opponent)? Or does the dwarf, while defending, get the attack bonus against every adjacent dragon that attacked and missed?

How is that handled now? In general, attacking one dragon, with several other dragons nearby (rather than hunkering) is too risky to risk. Unless the bonus counts for counterattacks as well, it is not terribly useful.

(2) In the current scheme, Dwarves with an advanced level simply get better-probability bonuses (just like the new Swordsman does). What is being proposed (e.g., Frenzy III, 5+ adjacent monsters, +7 attack) appears to give the advanced Dwarf no advantage over the less-advanced Dwarf, except in the rare situation that there is room for more than 3 dragons to squeeze in.

Similarly the Hunker II def gives the advanced Dwarf no advantage at all against 1hp monsters.

In both cases, at least a small extra advantage seems warranted.

(3) On looking at the latest versions of the character sheets, I notice that 50M points gets the swordsman to level 22 and the dwarf to level 21. Was this discrepancy intentional?

(4) Are there any plans in the works to increase “focus” for missed counterattacks and/or leaping attacks by the Elf?

(5) I don’t see a problem with the fact that today’s existing Dwarf scheme feels a lot like the old scheme, (and the dwarf plays similarly to the way that it used to) but improves survival odds by awarding bonuses to specific attack/defense/counterattack situations).

The main issue with “gird” was that it was not obvious that it was helpful; but making sure that its bonuses applied to counterattack situations would handle that.

(6) As for the “sweet spot”, there are too many room layouts where the distribution of pits make it impossible to fit 3 or more dragons around the dwarf; and even when they fit, one or more of the dragons is going to move away as soon as its hp are reduced to 1. Today’s suggestion for a new Dwarf bonus scheme seems to be entirely too dependent on those two factors (pit distribution and dragon behavior), which would often make it impossible for the dwarf to get any bonus at all, or any advanced bonus.

What, exactly, is the problem that we are trying to fix by making changes?

Dec 15, 2020 14:28

@beetletoe -

1) The attack bonus from Frenzy applies to any attack (including during feats) or counterattack if at the time of the attack/counterattack there are at least 3 adjacent monsters. That’s how it works now, and how the proposed system would.

2) It’s true that using Hunker III would be rare, but it could make a huge difference when it happens. Also, remember that the dwarf can call the worm to an adjacent pit to increase the monster count.

3) Yes, the dwarf progresses more slowly than the human. And the elf will progress more slowly than the dwarf. «ducks»

4) It makes some sense that a leap attack that misses should create focus. What should happen if you are leaping over two targets? If you miss both, do you get focus against both? I don’t think missing from a counterattack should create focus. Do you?

5) The Gird Loins bonuses apply to all attacks and counterattacks (and defense) for the entire next round, including feats.

6) The Sweet Spot is not something that should happen often. But I think clever players will be able to make frenzied situations happen, and it would give a good for flame for the dwarf to trap injured dragons so they can’t flee.

“What, exactly, is the problem that we are trying to fix by making changes?”

It’s not trying to fix a problem, but offering a system which further differentiate the brawler’s gameplay. Right now, while the dwarf does much better than the other heroes when surrounded, he’d still prefer to not be surrounded. The idea behind the proposed changes is to make it so that, very often, the dwarf will WANT to be surrounded, and go out of his way to make it happen.

But is that even a good idea? Or should being surrounded be something the dwarf is well equipped to deal with, but still prefer to avoid?

Dec 15, 2020 16:46

Thanks, Rowdius. Much clearer.

Your risk of injury from dragon attack is ultimately related to the number of shots that the dragons take, and not to the number of turns that their attacks are spread over –assuming, of course, that dragons do not also get the benefit of focus or rage when THEY shoot and miss–which is something to consider including if you want to make the game harder.

I believe that the principle behind focus (or rage) is that the more often you keep missing against a particular opponent, the better your odds of succeeding should get on each subsequent try. That is a very attractive idea.

For consistency (and to make the rule simpler) I would favor enjoying the same focus/rage bonus (for each of your misses) irrespective of whether you “missed” during an attack or a counterattack, one attack at a time or when multiple attacks happened simultaneously, and irrespective of whether the Human, Elf, or Dwarf was involved.

Dec 15, 2020 18:03

I’m OK with the idea that the dwarf should play best when he’s surrounded - that’s pretty much the definition of his character on the character sheet.

I also like the suggestion of 100% Cleave on charge for Feat Ability.

Thanks for the suggestion of summoning a worm to increase the monster count for Frenzy. I hadn’t thought of that!

Any particular logic for making him (and the elf) progress more slowly than the human? It doesn’t seem fair to me.

I think the Gird Loins changes would be beneficial. Giving +1 defense and +1 attack against all the monsters in a counterattack makes it different from the +1 Focus you would get from plinking an arrow at a specific monster. Even with the no counterattack rule I can still see it being tricky to trigger unless you just got hit. But it’s a handy bonus if you did.

I do wonder if jumping in to a pack of dragons and hunkering would really be as epic as it seems - with Hunker III and a +9 sword and shield you would still only have +11 defense so likely take 2 hits (no counterattack) and get 3 counterattacks with +16 against +10 defense. You still need at least +2 advantage on the dice to get a massive hit at +8 difference. I can get the swordsman to that kind of attack difference pretty easily (+8 sword, Press II, Full Swing II, Hasted, Surprise (or Focus+1, Rage+2 if I roll bad) = +16) and it doesn’t feel like I get a Massive Hit often on those kind of attacks. And if you do get a feat in that circumstance, there’s not going to be a lot of option to charge and cleave - at least one dragon is dead, at least 3 dragons are next to you (if you summoned a worm) and and there are only one or two open spaces through which you can charge. Best option looks like Hunker again. Bit boring for a feat? At least you have +12 defense now if you get Gird Loins automatically :-)

How about backing off Frenzy III (maybe back to your previous suggestion) but giving +1 defense per adjacent monster for Hunker II and +2 per 2hp monster for Hunker III? Now with 5 surrounding dragons you have up to +19 defense (with +9 shield) which will stand up to almost any dragon attack! Now there’s a real chance he can jump in to a pack of dragons and hack away without burning hit points in the process.

Dec 15, 2020 21:36

A different xp progression for the dwarf and elf hearkens back to Basic D&D, where that was done. A more practical reason is that we’d like a faster progression for players early on, but a longer one for players who are here for the duration. I suppose we could keep the elf and the dwarf the same, but there’s a certain elegance to the dwarf progressing faster than the elf.

But back to the dwarf -

I share the concern that a hunker-all-the-time strategy (including feats) would be dull. So rather than giving the extra defense to hunker in frenzy situations, how about we make the Frenzy bonus apply to both attack and defense?

So something like this:

Hunker I: When guarding, +1 defense (+3 total) & resilience doubled
Hunker II: When guarding, +30% uppercut on counterattacks
Hunker III: When guarding, +2 defense (+4 total) vs. 2+ hp monsters

Frenzy I: If 3+ adjacent monsters, +1 attack/defense per monster
Frenzy II: Add +1 to frenzy total
Frenzy III: If 4+ adjacent monsters, add another +1 to frenzy total

That way you’d feel more comfortable charging into a frenzy, but not have to keep hunkering once you’re there (at least, not if you trigger a feat, in which case you might want to take a step back, then charge back in.)

Dec 16, 2020 6:53

Hi, Rowdius.

Are you suggesting that the Frenzy defensive bonus (for multiple adjacent monsters) gets ADDED to the Hunker defensive bonus (for guarding)?

And does the Frenzy attack bonus get added to counterattacks as well?

If both of those are true, then what is the incentive to stop hunkering? Perhaps the answer is that once the crowd thins out, Frenzy stops working, due to the movement of 1hp dragons away, and to dragon deaths, and charging becomes necessary instead.

Dec 16, 2020 13:32

@Rowdius. Good thought to up the defense on Frenzy instead.

But I agree with beetletoe - you’d have massive defense against a pack of 5 dragons (+20 if you are full strength) and hunkering again would knock another hit point off all the dragons. Charge and Cleave would just reduce your defense and take less hit points off your foes as a whole.

I like the idea that the dwarf can jump into a pack of dragons and reappear two rounds later basically unscathed and start charging down the dragons as they run away (you’d never do that with the elf :-)). But to me that feels like something that should be a feat (even for a level 24 dwarf), not trigger one.

Dec 16, 2020 16:09

Those numbers got away from us a bit. But here are some new ideas. The following would be changes to the currently implemented system:

Gird Loins triggered whenever you Guard and do not counterattack.

[Reason: So girding loins is more useful in the lair.]

When you charge, any monsters that you pass are disoriented and skip their next turn. (Applies to monsters that are adjacent to both the beginning and end of your charge.)

[Reason: You can be more comfortable charging into a crowd.]

C) Increase base resilience to 30%

D) Hunker I: When guarding, resilience applies to all attacks (you’d counterattack a resisted melee attack). [No extra defense bonus.]
Hunker II: Resilience & Uppercuts increased from 30% to 40%
Hunker III: Resilience & Uppercuts increased from 40% to 50%

[Reason: Hunkering v. dragons less dependent on a +9 shield. Uppercuts make sense as a counterattack when hunkering and reduced sword dependence.]

E) Frenzy I: If 3+ adjacent monsters, +1 per adjacent monster added to sword attacks
Frenzy II: +1 to above total
Frenzy III: +1 to above total

[Reason: Extra frenzy offense to counter the high risk situation. Eliminated frenzy defense idea because it’s hard to display, and because it’s less needed with the disorientation caused by charging.]

F) Feat charges have 100% of cleaving.

[Reason: Popular request]

How does that sound?

Dec 16, 2020 18:17

That could be worth trying and see what happens :)

Dec 16, 2020 18:36

I like that. As well as with weaker weapons in the lair, he has a fighting chance to hunker with a very weak shield (+1) against a reasonably strong monster (+5 crocodile). I wouldn’t risk guarding with the swordsman on that, and with +1 sword the swordsman is in trouble on attack too without full swing or press. But the dwarf always has uppercut and Frenzy as well with enough monsters so he might just fight his way through. Kind of what you’d expect from the Brawler :-)

Disorientation on charge would work rather like the swordsman’s bull rush into a pit, which I think works well. And he’s looking good for a feat chain repeatedly charging into a group of low defense monsters (Ropers in the hunt? +9 sword, +3 charge, approx +4 Frenzy = +16 against +2 defense needing +8 for a feat (+11 second time but you have the feat bonus), cleave on charge once you have the feat, and no strikes back! And hunker if it goes wrong. Beat that, elf :-) )

I think it would be dwarf-like and lead to play that’s different from the swordsman and the huntress.

Dec 17, 2020 1:10

I like that all, too. I also like the idea of “auto-gird-loins” when hunkering from a feat (the free move is used to gird loins).
This should also be the case when coming from invisibility. Reason: If you would have a button for gird loins, the “worst thing” that could happen is to become visible during this. Another hunkering after that would have the bonus. So you can directly apply the bonus when hunkering out of a sneak.

Dec 17, 2020 20:53

Okay, then.

We’re going in.

Dec 18, 2020 15:58

I tried the Brawler (level 11) in the caverns a few times doing the sort of dwarf-like things you might want him to do with weaker weapons - charging into a group of monsters, fighting with other monsters round him etc and I can categorically say he is currently rubbish at it! I got beaten up by a group of beetles and a shambler on the first go and nearly gave up there and then! But I tried again in a few other rooms with much the same result. He needed +3 shield at least to look OK hunkering against a few ordinary monsters in the caverns, and +3 sword before he made a decent fist of fighting back. He was toast charging into a pack - he gets one good hit and then takes a hit off everyone else.

So I think you should definitely keep the idea of disorienting the surrounding monsters if you want him to be able to charge into a pack, and I think you definitely need (C) above as well as everything else, and maybe even +1 for Frenzy if you are surrounded by just two monsters.

That was before Rowdius posted “We’re going in”. I’m looking forward to the new changes :-)

Dec 20, 2020 10:26

Does he have a different XP progression to the warrior?

Dec 21, 2020 1:53

The dwarf was always my least favorite of the three characters, and he seems to have profited far less than the human from his upgrade; he remains my least favorite, while the updated human and the non-updated elf are roughly tied. If Gird Loins were easier to apply, I’d be more tempted to try the dwarf out more often.

Dec 21, 2020 15:37

BinderIncarnate - I agree that the dwarf hasn’t profited as much as the human from the changes. Yet. But Rowdius and Masterleep are working on that. You’ll see above that there are more changes coming :-)

Hopefully we’ll end up with a dwarf that’s got a distinctive gameplay style different from both the human swordsman and the elven huntress, and is suitably balanced in comparison so you’ll want to use all three. We’re hoping for a character that’s capable fighting when he’s outnumbered and can put up a good fight even with weaker weapons. That contrasts with both the human, who is best fighting one on one, and the elf, who is best from distance and on the move.

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