Wizards without wizlabs

This is the wizlab brainstorming thread.

Wizlab is a lategame portal with maps named after various DCSS wizards, usually with weird monster sets and/or some kind of gimmick. The portal can spawn in Depths, Elf, Crypt, and Vaults. They’re kind of hard to make since they need to be balanced for a lategame character while being unique/different from other lategame content. So I thought I’d make a thread for the unlabbed wizards and try to get some ideas.

Gell - I thought about doing a map with forced attraction status and monsters that explode, like husks, but it seemed very gimmicky so I didn’t make it.

Leda - Couldn’t think of a monster set for it.

Lee - Kind of similar to Leda, the only real thematic monsters are deep troll earth mages or the various deconstructable nonliving monsters, which are used pretty heavily elsewhere.

Olgreb - Not a lot of lategame poison monsters of note, and felt hard to do anything interesting with the ones we have.

Ozocubu - Thought it would end up too similar to hard ice caves. I did consider a map gimmick where monsters would thaw out of the walls over time, but I thought that was too similar to the Tomb of Doroklohe and Zonguldrok shrine maps.

Vhi - Wasn’t really on my radar when I was making wizlab maps.

There are also various non-wizard named characters (the Alchemist, the Black Knight, the Captain, the Octopus King, Ukta, Zhor) but these are thinner and would need a really good concept. Anyway, pitch new wizlab maps here or critique the existing ones or whatever.

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nice, i like the concept of wizlabs a lot. turns out i’m not a very good game designer but in the sake of the brainstorming i’ll put here my ideas, maybe they can give some inspiration.

Vhi’s Thunderdome - a ring with some fast and electric monsters, like spark wasps and raijus, and the boss can be an electric golem maybe?

Olgreb’s Noxious Sewers - a maze of flooded sewer pipes, with some nagas that give you -rpois behind grates, fenstrider witches, green deaths and maybe some unique sewer monster experiment with curare attacks?

that’s it for now, but i hope to come back with more ideas.

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My first thought for Gell’s was a central black hole; continually pulling everything inward. This idea is worse than just gimmicky though.

Ozocubu- Could do a gimmick of giving armor and/or frozen after too long stationary, possibly. Don’t see a monster set that’s not Ice Caves 2 Refrigerated Boogaloo though.

Leda- Fenstrider witches, earth elementals, recolored saltlings, and as of trunk your pick of iron shot users. Potentially also shapeshifters, potentially also jellies.

I came up with an idea where Zhor was a Pulse Ox (a pun on Pulse Oximeter) that fires waves of energy like creeping frost and lives in a mausoleum where his coldness could preserve the bodies but I couldn’t think of a way to make it meaningfully different than the simulacrum ice cave.

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Olgreb is an interesting one to think about. Wizlabs come out at a time when players are probably going to be interested in pivoting a venom mage into a second strategy, rather than further investing or pivoting into poison magic. The staff of Olgreb is still a logical reward item to put in there, but I wonder if it would be more tempting to players to pursue something like a fixedart glove with rPois infinite.

What I’m envisioning is sort of an amped up version of the staff of Olgreb vault that can show up in dungeon; the concept would be that this is the lab where Olgreb kept the poisonous beasts he was experimenting with, and his lab equipment is located in some central room. Perhaps cages that open up at some point, dumping out a bunch of (non-sentient) critters with poison/curare, to attack the player in a central hallway?

I don’t have a real good idea of how to make that appropriately challenging or even whether it’s feasible, just a theme concept. I feel like wizlabs in general don’t tend to be overly dangerous for a character who can reach them, except for Doroklohe, which will crush you like a dang bug, but my vision here is that you’d have to weigh whether to go out into some relatively exposed area to trigger the cages opening, after which you’d be at some risk of getting mobbed unless you had some consumable or other way of maneuvering to better ground.

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that’s a really good flavour and i like a lot the little lore behind it, but gameplay-wise it’s nearly identical to Doroklohe gimmick.

Yeah my concept was a little more that you would proceed to some trigger point that would open a bunch of runed doors simultaneously, both the one leading to the loot and the ones leading to the animal cages, which would give you a bit of a choice about how to handle it - try to maneuer and hole up in a cage, sprint for the loot and maybe even hope to put on the gloves mid-fight, read blink/tp and aim to get better positioning…

That said I agree that this is kind of a story/theme in search of an implementation that would make for good gameplay.

Leda and Lee are as you note quite similar, so that could be leaned into ─I’m picturing an active battlefield/warzone where you pick a side to take out via portal, similar to a Gauntlet, with the titular mage is the ‘boss’ at the end ─A named Earth Troll for Lee & maaaybe some sort of golem for Leda? There could be the occasional wall that ‘spawns in’ and explodes after a brief bit to mimic artillery shells being flung. Monsters are trickier (and I don’t know as much about them), but anything Earth-themed would work, maybe with a dichotomy between Living things and Constructs.

In regards to Zhor, it isn’t a person so much as a species of creature which the skin was made of. A Wizlab-type area I think would be really cool is a big-game safari; One of my favourite things in vaults is seeing rare and weird monsters, so it’d give the opportunity to make slightly ‘off model’ versions of familiar monsters. With a modified Death Yak or something as the titular Zhor. Entrance vaults to the place could feature a choice of Wands, Throwables or a decentish ranged weapon to turn you into a big-game hunter!

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Leda’s Bedrock Academy

Mechanics: LoS reduced to 4 (3 if you are a sadist, 5 if you want to make it “easy”), Ko possibly unaffected.

Enemies: Various casters with Earth damage spells. Deep Elf Annihilators, Gargoyles, maybe a couple of Ancient Liches, Draconian Annihilators, Crystal/Earthen Tomes (downright cruel). The challenge is to tackle LCS/Leda’s Unmaking casters at close range. For flavour add pet Earth Elementals and Rock Slimes (very nasty with reduced LoS).

Layout: Small rooms (2x2 to 4x4) in a net connected by short bendy corridors (at right angles of course). Idea is to make player feel claustrophobic/trapped. Labyrinthine. Final chamber is a lecture hall (no pets allowed), big semicircular or triangular room with large doors, can potentially contain a boss where a lector would be.

Boss: Sentient rock creature (unique Nargun perhaps), or one of Vv’s relatives, or Iron Scaled Draconian, caster obviously. Style it as Rector, or Dean (some academia pun might be in order).

Tiles: Brown/Dark Greyish-Yellow Stone, undiggable (ideally also unshatterable, cause bedrock), possibly some nice bookcase tiles.

Flavour: Among the earth mages Leda is known as a more scholarly figure, not above mixing and matching different schools of magic (Leda’s Liquefaction) and welcoming all kinds of students in her Academy. Also not above stealing the results of other people’s work (possible angle for conflict with Lehudib (maybe former professor/researcher in the Academy?)). Can potentially make Leda blind in the lore, on theme with darkness and underworld.

As you enter the halls of the Leda’s Bedrock Academy you feel the weight of the whole world bearing down on you. The darkness here is ancient.

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Lee’s Testing Grounds

Mechanics: Wall tiles occasionally create 3x3 explosions (only in player LoS). Fragmentation damage (3x reduced by AC). Like low to mid powered LRD, type of explosion matches wall type. Loud.

Enemies: High AC bruisers, Orc Knights/Warlords and Vault Guards/Wardens all with plate armour and tower shields, one or two of Iron Giants/Juggernauts, maybe Iron Trolls and an Iron Dragon (helper hands and a beast of burden), no stuff that is susceptible to LRD at all. The challenge is to deal with all the tanky enemies, while staying away from the walls.

Layout: Large oblong or oval field (stone walls for border) filled with debris, think large-ish chunks surrounded by smaller and smaller chunks in a radius (or vice versa, whatever looks best) to evoke the feeling of large scale explosive devastation that took place here. On the other side from entry portal is an unshatterable bunker, medium to small sized building that contains a boss.

Boss: Ideally a unique caster in an absurdly heavy armour (crystal plate perhaps). The ultimate tank mage, Lee’s Research Assistant, Head Exploder (for a nice pun give them a super strong mindburst spell). Casts elemental spells (chain lightning, CBL, fireball, straburst etc.) and shatter if you want to surprise Gr players (please no, is a joke).

Tiles: The field is a complete mismatch of rock, crystal, stone and metal for differently flavoured explosions. The bunker is fancy metal tiles. Ambience of nuclear weapon testing site or mining operation gone horribly awry.

Flavour: Lee is a single-minded and above all practical wizard. He wants to do one thing only, but he wants to do it properly. Can’t manage that without some trial and error. Like they say “You can’t make an omelet without blowing up a mountain or two”.

A field of shattered and mangled rock overcharged with magical energies stretches before you. Some pieces of debris visibly vibrate and crack under strain. Welcome to the Lee’s Testing Grounds.

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Regarding the boss for Leda: An Octopode Crusher surrounded by a constant Leda’s Liquefaction spell could be intriguing. Firstly these (removed in 0.18) octopodes were associated with earth magic and secondly it makes sense for the caster of such a spell to be comfortable in water.

Additionally, this Octopode Crushers had the spell Iron Shot (now Leda’s Unraveling) and the ability Tentacle Throw, enabling them to throw constricted creatures to non-adjacent locations. Combining these abilities with the ongoing Leda’s Liquefaction spell creates a challenging scenario where players must wade through the slow mud possibly multiple times to reach the octopode, who can continually unleash Leda’s Unraveling upon approaching adversaries.

On another note Leda’s spells both revolve around hindering movement so I could also see enemies with Grasping Roots, Petrify, Harpoon Shot or krakens with their constricting tentacles maybe working in well in Leda’s wizlab.

From yonder depths of this mystical laboratory, a lone octopode crusher mage emerges, defying the annals of it’s extinction. What portentous fate does this solitary scholar bear? Does it lie in wait amidst these subterranean waters, biding its time till the world, ensnared in complacency, becomes ripe for its triumphant rise, the crushing of all existence?

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Vhi’s Enchanted Gymnasium

Mechanics: All enemies are permanently hasted (if too nasty, can be balanced by reducing the number of enemies and cutting chaff) or spawn with a potion of haste (doubles up as a reward for clearing), special statue enemies radiate torpor snail-like slowing aura.

Enemies: Melee/ranged attackers associated with speed or athleticism, no casters. Spriggans, Stone Giants, Ettins, Merfolk Impalers/Javeliners, Deep Trolls (for chaff if needed). Humanoid enemies wield weapons with speed, elec and heavy brands. Dampening pillar - special statue type enemy that acts like a stationary torpor snail (indestructible?). Spark Wasps, Shock Serpents. The challenge is to fight supercharged hard hitting/fast enemies, while potentially being slowed by statues, in an open layout.

Layout: A courtyard with some greenery and a few lightning themed critters (Wasps, Serpents) precedes the gymnasium itself. Gymnasium is a stone building with large windows, laid out like a big gym (or modern office space), lots of glass walls/doors with regular stone columns, wide corridors. Rooms are big and rectangular and each contains a Dampening pillar in the corner. There is weight lifting room with Giants, track room with Spriggans, swimming pool room with Merfolk etc. In the corner of the map is an administrator’s office with a boss.

Boss: Named Titan with Summon Spark Wasps and/or Summon Shock Serpents spells. The only spell user in the building, keeps other health-nuts in check and heals their strain related injuries.

Tiles: Lots of clear glass, cold colours, some stone, metal. Less is more type of design. Looks expensive and respectable.

Flavour: Vhi was a “healthy mind in a healthy body” type of person. Endless training, trying to surpass the limitations of mortal flesh through sheer dedication and force of will (and a small helping from electrical thaumaturgy), became their way of life. Over time they attracted a small number of dedicated followers, who saw promise in the idea of trying to perfect one’s physical form. Cue various training montages etc. Would be fun if Vhi was a Naga or an Armataur, then randart barding could be one of the guaranteed rewards.

You appear in the courtyard of Vhi’s Enchanted Gymnasium. The air smells like wet iron. You hear a rhythmic pumping noise in the distance.

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Not really a fully thought out idea but since this is a brainstorming thread I thought I’d share this anyway:

Gell’s International Research Satellite

Mechanics: While a constant attraction effect might be problematic (especially for casters and ranged builds). Maybe it could work if the different rooms in the wizlab had different gravity. I.e. in some rooms (indicated by colour of floor tiles) you have attraction and in others repulsion(Disjunction?) active. This could lead to players luring monsters into rooms where they are better equipped at handling them which might be interesting imo.

Enemies: This diverse research station harbors a mix of formidable adversaries from different species (rather than groups of enemies of the same species) skilled in ranged or (preferably xor) close combat, such as Draconian shifters, Yaktaur captains, Centaur warriors, Iron golems and foes wielding boomerangs of dispersal. The challenge is that players are required to adapt their approach based on whether they engage from a distance or in close quarters.

Layout: Embracing a circular design, the structure boasts interconnected rooms with translucent crystal and metal walls, with ethereal clouds on the outside. At the heart of this facility lies a central room (half attractive/repulsive) that houses a boss [having two “black holes” spinning around each other in the center boss room resulting in changing gravity conditions might maybe also be cool idk].

Flavor: Officially touted as a spaceborne haven for gravity research, Gell’s international research facility harbors a secret whisper—perhaps it was conceived as a refuge to elude the ridicule endured by Gell and his seemingly “underwhelming” spell.

Step into a realm of weightlessness where the collective efforts of an international research station delving into the mysteries of gravity unites nations. Welcome, intrepid explorer, to the captivating domain of Gell’s International Research Satellite.

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Olgreb’s Hidden Sanctum

Mechanics: Players are permanently affected by rPois- status (like from a Naga Ritualist Virulence), all shallow water is toxic sludge instead (a la Noxious Bog). Makes it easy for non-living species and form users, but eh, it’s on theme for poison to be weak vs them. Also makes it easy if you’ve found Olgreb’s Staff beforehand, which is nice thematically (staff is the key and all that).

Enemies: Various mid-high tier swamp themed Spectral things outside of the building (bunyips, hydras, caustic shrikes). Inside - lots of Green Deaths, Orange Demons and some Cacodemons + special boss group. The challenge is to fight a bunch of poison demons in unpredictable terrain and without poison resistance.

Layout: Player enters in an open swamp (water is noxious bog) like area with mostly dead and some alive trees here and there. Spectres are wandering around. A narrow wobbly path through the swamp leads to a spherical or polyhedral dome of stone with a small entryway (no door). On the outside dome is overgrown with dead trees, it’s sort of jutting out of the dead forest (map edges are dead/alive forest as well).

Inside half of the dome is layered like an onion - layer of rock walls, then layer of empty space and so on. Layers are one tile thick and connections between them are far apart. Rock layers contain lots of irregularly placed transparent rock, so the end effect on LoS is like a broken mirror or crystal, it’s all weird. Of course Cacodemons that are placed more towards the centre of the “onion” will notice you and dig stuff up, so it’ll all turn very messy. At the centre of the “onion half” is a door to the second half of the dome.

The second half is a large room that holds a large green crystal (just crystal walls in a shape) and a couple of pools of water. Looks like a temple of sorts. Contains a boss group.

Boss ver. 1 (theme: demonic squatters): Named demonspawn (Amaemon Sr. perhaps? like Pargi/Parghit) and two spectral krakens. Boss has OTR and irradiate bolt (Irradiate, but bolt), or Irradiate Storm (scary stuff), boss is surrounded by halo (3-4 tile aura), that slowly gives contamination.

Boss ver. 2 (theme: living crystal defends itself from demonic squatters): Several green coloured Crystal Guardians that have poison/acid/physical energy bolts. Contamination aura like ver. 1. Can do little empty spaces in the large crystal to indicate where they’ve spawned.

Tiles: Overgrown stone, decaying forest, sickly green glass and crystal. The Glow of Crawl. Everything is irradiated.

Flavour: Olgreb was a reclusive and secretive wizard, jealously holding on to an extremely potent power source even as it eroded mage’s physique and sanity. After the wizard was gone, protective seals they put on the place weakened and a host of demons attracted by the power of the Crystal took lodgings inside the Dome. Also Olgreb was an octopode perhaps, hence the krakens :).

You enter the outskirts of the Olgreb’s Sanctum, the water here is rancid and the air is putrid. Everything is glowing.

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Ozocubu’s Simulacrum Storage

Mechanics: All living enemies are soulbound (spawn simulacrum on death).

Enemies: Hell Knights guarding the outside of the lab, Walking Frostbound Tome (too harsh maybe), Ironbound Frosthearts and a bunch of high tier animals in cages (shrike, many-headed hydra, dire elephant, a couple of dragons), and a boss group in the final chamber. The challenge is a difficult boss fight, which makes this one somewhat different from the other wizlabs.

Layout: Large cave that contains a large building with no doors/windows. The building is surrounded by a lava moat (hell knights hang around here). A portal next to the buildings leads to the large chamber inside filled with small glass cages with glass doors. Cages contain soulbound animals and some loot to entice the player to open them; frosthearts (lab assistants) and a tome wander among the cages. At the far end of the chamber is a portal to the boss area. Boss area is a medium sized room with four or three named spellcasting simulacrums that you have to fight simultaneously. Exit portals can be used as a difficulty slider by placing them near or far away from the entry ones.

Boss: Four or three Ozocubu’s Simulacrums - a bit fragile spell casting enemy. Each knows one spell. Refrigeration is obvious. High powered Throw Icicle, Frost Bolt, Frost Fireball (like Ghost Fireball) are potential candidates as well. Also one of the simulacrums can be just a tanky melee brute to represent Ozocubu’s Armour.

Tiles: Ice Cave type tiles, blue/teal crystal and stone for the inner chambers. Snow/ice tiles outside will make a nice contrast with the redness of the lava moat.

Flavour: Ozocubu is not a single person, but rather a pen name used by several generations of ice wizards. This lineage of sorts contained both brilliant geniuses and boastful layabouts. Over the years they developed a tradition of making a special artisan simulacrums of the best among them. For that purpose a special lab was constructed deep within a glacier and a mercenary company of hell knights was hired as protectors to deter rival ice wizards from stealing Ozocubu secrets.

You enter a large cave that looks like the inside of a glacier. The cold is so intense you feel it in your very soul. Welcome to the Ozocubu’s Simulacrum Storage!

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