Feedback: Hexslinger Rework Experimental Branch

(Reposted from @gammafunk’s discord announcement.)

A new set of starting spells for Hexslinger is available for playtesting on CDI.

This aims to address some of the awkwardness of Hexslinger early game, by providing a smoother curve of castable spells that offer immediate early game utility to make actually training hexes along with your weapons a better choice than it currently is, and attempt to support some of the traditional combos in the book (ie: actually making use of Inner Flame) more effectively.

Jinxbite: Level 2 Hexes. Self-buff that makes your attacks create will-checking sprites that inflict minor damage on enemies and can slow/weak.

Sigil of Binding: Level 3 Hexes. Places 2 ‘traps’ on random nearby locations that will lock enemy movement briefly when they step on them (but take care not to step on them yourself!).

Inner Flame: Now irresistable, but damage and cloud creation is based on spellpower (dealing meaningfully less at practical power)

Dimensional Bullseye: Level 4 Hexes/Translocations, replacing Portal Projectile. Smite-target an enemy and for a while, all ranged attacks you perform against anything else will also hit that enemy at the end of their normal arc (still costs 1 mp per shot).

(Cause Fear is still around, don’t worry)

Let us know how effective you think the new spells are, whether there are any issues with these new spells, and how well you think these spells work together for the background. Please pass your constructive feedback to any devs you see lurking in this channel (e.g. PleasingFungus, gammafunk, hellmonk, wormsofcan etc)
[Or better, post it here!]

To play, register and log in at WebTiles - Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup and click Hexslinger Changes under experimentals. You can also play on console via SSH on port 22 with user crawl and using the CAO key. The RC file used is that of your trunk RC, so use the trunk edit rc link to change your settings. All games played on CDI are not scored on CAO or Sequell.

8 Thanks

I only played through early game- DjHs with faded altar Yred.

Jinxbite feels extremely strong D2, even without accounting for the statuses inflicted. The flat damage from jinxsprites was competitive with my sling’s damage.
I sometimes cared about slow, weak never felt relevant. (Who’s getting hit in melee with this kit??)
Need to play with this more.

Sigil of Binding was extremely strong, but is currently broken? Sigiled monsters were able to move on the turn they were hit by jinxsprites.
In general, this felt much better than I expected, but I still worry what happens if I have a weak character with high MPRegen

Inner Flame- I love this spell already, and this is a huge upgrade at low levels. Mostly it’s better QoL.

Dimensional Bullseye: This felt very bad with yred; the current implementation encourages perverse behaviour when used with summons. For example, I shot my own zombies so I could hit the guy past them.

2 Thanks

RIP your zombies. Will have to actually check out Hs now. I like never touch them. I’m glad backgrounds are getting reworks because some are just bad

This sounds like a fun rework.

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Played two games to Lair:5.



Started with SpHs to familiarize myself with the spells, since ranged Sp starts are really strong. Then DEHs to see how normal speed species with good apts would feel. Both chars got Lugonu from a faded altar, which made later parts of the run very easy.

Generally XL:1 feels weaker, since you don’t have Slow anymore, but from XL:2 background feels way stronger than before, mostly due to Jinxbite. I enjoyed playing it, felt more meaningfully different from other backgrounds than old Hs.

This spell is crazy, double debuff and non-trivial damage, works with throwing (notably poison darts), blocks LoF for enemies, procs on misses (not sure if intended) and has enough power to occasionally debuff stuff like Death Yaks and Dire Elephants, very MP efficient. Maybe it doesn’t feel as OP on a species with bad apts, but I doubt it, since you need only one successful cast to get the full benefit. It does nicely cover the lack of damage that old Hs start used to have, but maybe it covers it too much? It also feels like one of those spells that you just pick up on any ranged char and cast all game long.

Sigil of Binding:
Didn’t need it on Sp, but was fun to use on DE, precasting before battle feels strong and effect is good enough to spend extra turns repositioning (unlike Cigutovu’s Rot for example). Feels good to kite in the open with this one. Same as Monkooky noticed a buggy behaviour, where enemy with constriction icon would be able to move, not sure what causes it though.

Inner Flame:
Just a straight buff to an already strong spell. Would make it very good through the whole game, maybe too good. Reusable smite targeted Immolation sounds kinda bonkers. Extra key presses are the only downside, if you can call it that.

Dimensional Bullseye:
Feels unnecessary in the early game (PProj was the same). It’s technically more damage when fighting more than one enemy, but Jinxbite/Inner Flame take care of that already. I think for mid/late game it would be more annoying to use than PProj, due to constantly fiddling with the targeter, while serving essentially the same function. It also needs recasting after death of the target, which means it costs a lot more MP than PProj in prolonged fights. Didn’t get to test it against a single enemy with reflect or rmsl, does it even work there? PProj was quite useful for avoiding shooting yourself in the face.

Haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but overall this sounds really cool. My only concern (similar to monkooky and paperrat) is that the pproj replacement doesn’t sound any more interesting than pproj, but does sound like it could be more finicky/feel worse. I do think pproj is fairly boring as is so I would be happy to see a change, I just don’t think this new spell really fixes the things that make it boring

I only played a few rounds before work today, none of them getting particularly far, but I do have two pieces of experiential feedback on Jinxbite and Sigil.

Jinxbite is fun. Its got good theming, and seems quite strong for the reasons everyone who has already left feedback has given. My one suggestions is that its otherwise excellent theming doesn’t feel well executed on during gameplay. TBH, when I read that lil ghosties were going to be smacking my foes for me, I kind of just assumed it would have a visual effect similar to spectral weapon proc, and I think it would benefit a lot from a little visual spitshine.

Sigil seems to be potent, but the random nature of the deployed sigils feels like it really rewards faster races who can position to utilize them well (this is less true of you set it up beforehand, but not every encounter can be prepared for in advance). In that respect, in a ranged kiting kit, it seems a bit like a “win more” spell, since faster races are already able to kite effectively.

No other notes really. I enjoyed the little that I got to play, and will come back and edit this with more notes if I have any when I get to play more.

1 Thank

Are Jinxbite sprites “spell-residue” or hated by Okawaru?

Played HuHs to Lair:2 on the latest trunk. Some thoughts.

  • Jinxbite: Spell is still very good even though it doesn’t slow/weaken stuff or block LoF any more, doesn’t feel as OP. It’s weird that it drains undead and demons, though drain is nice and synergistic with Hexes overall. The biggest gripe is that the Will/2 status lasts for a really-really long time (in some cases 100+ turns after buff expiring), it’s not tactically relevant at that point and just prompts lots of extra retreating and resting, also a bit of a noob trap, since it doesn’t stop autoexplore. I think something like extra 1d10 turns of Will/2 after the main buff expires would be enough of a downside for this one.
  • Sigil of Binding: I don’t see a use case for this spell in its current iteration. It was already kinda niche and gimmicky, but now the swiftness buff and immunity to binded status just make it not worth the spell slots, MP or turns spent casting/kiting.
    Thing with spells like this one (Momentum Strike, Cigutovu’s Rot, Alistair’s Intoxication) is that you want to not use 'em ever, since downside might make your situation actively worse and upside is not strong enough to be worth the risk (unlike say MCC or Noxious Bog). They are a bit like last resort spells (or spells you use just to speed up a trivial fight) and Sigil of Binding doesn’t even have a last resort use case (or a case where it speeds up a fight), that I can see, too much hoops to jump through. Early on it also competes with Inner Flame/Cause Fear for spell slots, which is not a competition it’ll ever win. With AoO in the game I don’t think kiting spells need such a heavy downside at all.
  • Dimensional Bullseye: haven’t used it yet, not being able to hit stuff behind plants/pillars is a downgrade from PProj. I don’t see why PProj was removed tbh, it was a very nice QoL/tactical spell for rangers, you never was sad to get it and could get quite a bit of mileage out of it.
    If ranger AoE spell is desired, maybe something higher level, that curses an enemy and then splits projectiles that hit it towards other enemies in range can be a thing. Like you hit the giant with an arrow/dart and that arrow/dart also flies from that giant towards all its friends in radius 2 or 3 or something, maybe scale AoE with spell power.

I like the rework overall, makes Hs more distinct. One concerning thing is that XL:1 is now very swingy, +1 sling, robe and no Stealth can lead to just being rolled by RNG and scroll of poison is a really bad consumable in this case (you are being killed by bad rolls in melee on D:1). No more Slow spell means every time you get XL:1 quokka, hobgoblin or weaponised kobold, you have to make a choice to use your ?poison preemptively or risk being killed with no counterplay available, which feels kinda bad, especially seeing how common those enemies are on D:1. Maybe giving Hs a more reactive ?fear or !haste instead can be the solution.

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Played some more with Dimensional Bullseye. The spell is kind of a pain in the butt to use, because you need to retarget it every time you cast it, since the default targeter picks the stuff you are least likely to want it on. Not being able to make use of it with friendly summons is a bummer as well. Extra damage is nice, but in my opinion doesn’t make up for the clunkiness and loss of utility compared to PProj.

edit: Also Dimensional Bullseye doesn’t count for Yara’s, it maybe should, seeing as it’s an effect on a creature.

I’m coming in a little late to this, but I’ve played several games recently, mostly as a GnHs. My takes on the spells:

  • Jinxbite: very good early on, but I mostly stopped using it as soon as I had a stronger offensive option (Inner Flame) and Will became relevant (when Orc Wizards and Sleepcaps started showing up). Maybe I just play conservatively.
  • Inner Flame being irresistible was fun but probably too strong, and the reduced damage/clouds didn’t seem relevant very often. I see that this change has now been reverted, which is probably the right choice.
  • Sigil of Binding: early on, it’s much too weak; it generally doesn’t last long enough for its utility to be nullified by the subsequent Swiftness. Later on, it’s better, but if you can’t kill something in a couple of turns, it’s better to use it for escape than for kiting.
  • Dimensional Bullseye: more powerful but less versatile than PProj. The extra DPS (up to double!) is a big deal against groups. But at the same time, it makes some of the main use cases for PProj more fiddly. My standard tactic was to sit in a hallway or behind a doorway, with a weak monster between me and a tougher monster (e.g., orc and orc warrior, for a low-level example). Put Inner Flame on either the tougher monster, or a weak monster adjacent to them but not me (e.g. another orc). Smite target the tougher monster or the IF trigger, while taking less damage from the adjacent weak monster. Using this strategy with DB means you may well kill the weaker monster and have the IF-ed stronger monster move next to you. It’s a definite trade-off.

Overall, GnHs felt very strong up through Lair branches, even though I was playing pretty sloppily. I assume with other species it would be not as strong early on, but stronger later. Maybe I should try DE or something.

1 Thank