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[Neutral Creature] Conjurer

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MeinCookie

Dwarven Worker
Nov 15, 2011
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#1
I'm still fleshing this out, but any input is still welcome.



The Conjurer is a savage creature, laying claim to an inhuman intellect and soaked in bestial magic.... as well as copious amounts of blood. They work with no Player willingly, either refusing or biologically unable to submit themselves to any form of rules or restraint - chaotic, instinctual creatures they are. They certainly wouldn't work with Heroes.

These Creatures fight by solidifying thought into reality... or something like that. Nobody can be quite sure, their minds are so alien that all attempts to probe it have ended with researchers garnering nothing but headaches, and on more than one occasion, a gruesome death by rampaging conjurations.

In appearance they somewhat resemble insects, but are mostly smoke, creatures of nightmare and insubstance. They pull themselves along the ground on ghastly claw-shaped hands, the rest of their body trails behind like a billowing, black smog except for their head emerging from it... which comes standard issue with brilliant red insect eyes. The top of their skull is open with green magic fire billowing out with sharp crackling bursts of mana.

In addition they have a powerful affinity with Mana, and can weave it effortlessly in its naturally occurring form. This allows them the unique ability to shrug off all negatively effective Player spells, all ineffective. The only way to directly aid your creature against this foe is to buff them with Heals or any other buffing Keeper spell.

Conjurers do not know friend from foe, and even in a dungeon will attack indiscriminately, making them a poor choice for conversion. For the sake of completeness though, they are talented workshop workers, fabricating trap with great precision in record time, able to do much of the work with their mind.

Health: Medium-Low
Attack: Low
Armour: Low
Dexterity: Medium/Medium-High
Speed: Above Average
Training Rate: High
Training Cost: Medium
Torture Rate: Slow
Recovery: Very High (Passive Ability)
Wage: None (If you actually chose to integrate them into you dungeon)
Construction: High
Intelligence: Low (They are in fact very intelligent, but in terms of research...)
Workshop Skill: Legendary
Disposition: KILL!
Unit Type: Neutral
Gender: Unknown


Prospective Skills
Level 1 ~ Melee
A basic melee attack.
Level 2 ~ Summon Doppelgänger
Summons a copy of a random assorted creature the Conjurer has come into contact with. These duplicates are notably by a green aura which surrounds them. Up to five duplicates can be called in at any time before the spells greys out, uncastable, but the cool-down timer for this spell is steadily longer the more creatures are out. Furthermore, when creatures are first summoned their health, attack and armour are between 25-50% lower and spell cool-downs 20% longer. This is not permanent and if creatures summoned survive their stats will slowly increase to standard. These creatures can rank, though cannot be directly manipulated if a Keeper controls the Conjurer. Other Conjurers cannot be duplicated.
Level 3 ~ Summon Decoy
Summons a copy of a random assorted creature the Conjurer has come into contact with... except it is a fake. Its attacks do no damage. These are dispelled by creatures with sight, the Sight of Evil spell, or killing them. A limit of two of these may be called in at once and for clarification its cool-down is separate to that of Summon Aide. Other Conjurers cannot be duplicated.
Level 8 ~ Discharge
Not only are they already immune to harmful Keeper spells, they can now rebound its effects onto a totally random nearby creature. With AoE, any damage is applied to said creature.
Level 10 ~ Summon Defender
Summons a copy of the highest level, most powerful creature that the Conjurer has come into contact with, determined by threat level. Unlike with 'Summon Doppelgänger' the creature does not spawn with lowered health, armour and attack or with longer spell cool-downs. These duplicates are notably by a even brighter green aura which surrounds them. Up to one duplicate can be called in at once before the spells greys out, uncastable. This creature can rank, though cannot be directly manipulated if a Keeper controls the Conjurer. Other Conjurers cannot be duplicated.

Creature Traits

Self Heal (Passive)
Extremely powerful regenerative capabilities are their main survival mechanism.

Water-Aversion (Passive)
Cannot cross water.

Fire-Affinity (Passive)
Can cross Lava.

Dispell Mana (Passive)
Immune to negative Keeper spells.

Acquired By
Conversion (Inadvisable), Editor (Also likely Inadvisable)

Battle Style
Flanker/Support

Torture
Being put in an ornate glass tank, magically reinforced, and left alone.

Likes/Loves
-Violence
-Imitation

Dislikes/Hates
-Being Restrained
-
 
Nov 18, 2011
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#3
Interesting consecpt a monster that makes semi-solid (since they are not real yet) creatures.
I do have a question do the Doppelgangers follow the Conjurer?
 

MeinCookie

Dwarven Worker
Nov 15, 2011
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#4
Yes, I would say. Never thought about that, but it makes sense and improves the survivability of the Conjurer. As long as they aren't occupied with combat, they'll be trailing behind.
 

Hugo

Concept Artist
Brightrock Games
Nov 14, 2011
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#5
While I can see this as a dungeon critter, I don't really like it. I don't know, it's kind of weird, maybe it's because of the image...
And, its doppelganger ability seems a bit broken, a level 3 conjurer in battle equals to have 7 creatures in one.
 

MeinCookie

Dwarven Worker
Nov 15, 2011
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#6
While I can see this as a dungeon critter, I don't really like it. I don't know, it's kind of weird, maybe it's because of the image...
That is the idea... its nightmare fodder. Its an utterly hostile mad fly-thing with mana crackling out of its head. It looks like what it is, have some creativity. They are meant to be a challenge to confront, and in this case they aren't the kind of creature you want in your dungeon. They'll either kill all your other creatures or die trying. Not even Horny was that bad. Now if you consider at max there might be 3 or 4 of these on map, you'll probably get the opertunity to convert two of them if you really try. Is that a valid tradeoff when if you throw them into battle they'll still be attacking your troops as well as the enemies? Also it doesn't have to be balanced particularly well because it is a hostile neutral through and through.

Also you aren't supposed to like it - your supposed to hate it. It will only ever be your enemy.

And, its doppelganger ability seems a bit broken, a Level 3 conjurer in battle equals to have 7 creatures in one.
The fact is that alone, they are very weak and useless, and they don't get a single spell til Level 2. They have very little combat value of their own. Now you say 7 creatures at Level 3? Two of those can't attack and are just distractions, they aren't even a direct threat to you. Its misleading to say "OMG, 7 creatures at level 3!".

The other 5 creatures start at dramatically lower health and the Conjurer only spawns creatures it has come into contact with. Thus the Conjurer's creatures are likely combating better versions of themselves until they regain full stats, which considering that they may never do so.

Also take into account the stacking cooldown. It takes a long time to call in a creature, and longer the more you have out. It doesn't reset if one of them dies. It takes a long time, progressively longer, to get 5 creatures out and your fighting against attrition from combat. The fact is it is very unlikely that it'll be able to maintain anymore than 2 or 3 creatures out at a time, if it can survive long enough to get those out.

Now as its creatures level they might be able to last longer. But remember that it doesn't have access to a training room so it'll always trail behind there. They can only gain experience in combat.

You can criticse that mechanic all you want, but though it looks OP on the surface, I assure you the conjurer will be lucky if it survives to Level 3, and luckier of it gets beyond.


An interesting thing to note about purely hostile neutrals is that the don't have access to training rooms and Keeper heal spells - a problem only worsened if it has low health and armour. It needs a survivability factor very early on if it wants any hope of surviving and any hope of continuing to be a thorn in your side.
 

Hugo

Concept Artist
Brightrock Games
Nov 14, 2011
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#7
"A mad fly-thing with mana crackling out of its head" is pretty weird. You could have come up with something like a mad hermit wizard, a magic specter or a more recognizable character. I know some people will disagree, but to me archetypes are important in this game. Dk was all about archetypes, in fact anything featuring the good vs evil thing relys on them. I know there were invented creatures, but except for the tentacle (wich was a fairly simple concept, and I'm not sure it was a totally new monster), they were all based in preexistent archetypes. The basic premise was to manage a dungeon like those featured in classic dungeon crawlers and RPGs. Things were meant to be acknowledgeable by the player. (Sure a mistress is not from classic rpgs, but it's a masochist: part of a common imaginary)
Sincerely, why does its face have to be insect-like? That's confusing and does not tell anything about it being magical or being a sort of ghost, or why it has mana over its head, it could as well have fire and that wouldn't make any difference. It does not self-explain.
I'm only talking about its aspect here. It's just I don't think it fits, that's all.

About the mechanic, the truth is I like the concept of a creature able to summon others. I thought it was broken because you said "Up to five duplicates can be called in at once before the spells greys out" , but if it's not like that then I'm fine with it. Your explanation about it seemed ok for me.
 
Likes: Zuriki

MeinCookie

Dwarven Worker
Nov 15, 2011
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#9
I'm not breaking archetypes. And good vs evil doesn't depend entirely on archetypes, because I'm still using basic visual conventions for good and evil in how I've designed him. Horny and the Bile Demon weren't archetypes. The Mistress and the Tentacle weren't archetypes.

Why is it insect-like? Because between birds, reptiles and insects which is the most inhuman? It is the hardest thing to relate to. Additionally, yes... its a nod to the fly and firefly. Also, it is fire - magic fire. That is a visual representation of its affinity to mana, its resistance to Keeper spells. Also it looks totally freaky and makes it even more alien and incomprehensible. You aren't supposed to comprehend it because this thing? Its utterly alien.
 
#10
Horny and Bile Demons represented the traditional ideal demon horns and red skin, the bile demon in particular came from the fifth plane of hell (gluttony) as lore goes.

The Mistress was a nod towards the sin of lust and sexual deviation, considered "unholy" by some.

The tentacle is an outcast, it was more of an "extra" than anything, it only appeared once or twice in the campaign if memory serves...

Giant insects are not particularly pleasant, not inherently evil, but undesirable nonetheless. Something you'd expect in a despot dungeon.

You creatures falls outside the archetypes because it doesn't have any consistent theme about it, it's a Frankenstein of various other creatures and sub-themes.

Consider the definition of archetype: A very typical example of a certain person or thing.
Now consider what you've created, do you see?
 
Likes: Hugo

MeinCookie

Dwarven Worker
Nov 15, 2011
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#11
Breaking an archetype is twisting an already existing archetype on its head. This isn't an already existing Archetype so I'm not breaking anything. I'm going back to basics and using conventions. Conventions used strongly enough get that message across. You get the impression that this thing is weird? That is what I aim for with it, which means its a success. This is the boogeyman, the nightmare creature. Something so absurd and frightning it could surely only exist in your head? The only neccessity for that archetype is that its completely bizzare, frightening and utterly hostile - its defining characteristic is that it is different.

Furthermore, remember this is a neutral. It doesn't have to follow the rules of the setting so strictly, because the setting never accounted for neutrals. It doesn't break the setting... it expands it.

On confusing mechanics? Its pretty simple. It summons copies of other creatures. The rest is just balancing, and even that is pretty straightforward.
 
#12
Ugh, you're impossible to argue with. You've got some skewed definition of what an archetype is, and why they are important. Your creature falls out of what is acceptable within the bounds of the theme, from a visual standpoint. It is alien, TOO alien. It's like sticking a f*cking robot in the middle ages. That's how ridiculous it is.

All I will say is; not in my game. Fortunately for you, this is not my game.

Now I have to avoid posting in this topic like the plague before I come out with some (more) thinly veiled insults, as is my usual style.
 

MeinCookie

Dwarven Worker
Nov 15, 2011
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#13
Ugh, you're impossible to argue with. You've got some skewed definition of what an archetype is, and why they are important. Your creature falls out of what is acceptable within the bounds of the theme, from a visual standpoint. It is alien, TOO alien. It's like sticking a f*cking robot in the middle ages. That's how ridiculous it is.
It is a magical creature. A very magical creature. That fits with a fantasy setting o_O. Where is the destinction between this and Mothrayas's Pheonix? Both are equally ludicrous in reality, your just more familar with 'fire' birds. Never read a medieval bestiary? They love ludicrous :p . Back in olden times they believed in all sorts of crazy creatures we would scoff at today. This follows that tradition. Sit down and actually think about it. Manticores? Hippogriffs? Griffins? Hippocamps? Those are just to common ones we've grown used to and that have traversed into popular culture. Your saying this doesn't fit amongst the Middle Ages? Yeah... pull the other one :rolleyes:.

Conventions support and compose Archetypes. I ain't breaking the Archetypes and I'm using conventions. Subverting/Breaking an Archetype would be say... giving a dragon butterfly wings or making it a mammal :eek:. Assembling a new creature, from scratch, using conventions is not doing so. I'm not defering to Archetypes, true, but I'm not breaking them either. It isn't a big point against me.

Archetypes are only a problem if you take the and totally subvert them in a way that people aren't used to. That breaks immersion. If you start from scratch you just show them what your talking about. If you break an Archetype, you have to break preconception and then show them what your talking about.

There are no Archetypes around Summoners and Conjurers because quite simply, it is 'one who summons' and 'one who conjurers'. That can be anything o_O . It is unique in that it is tied to a practice without an abundance of preconception in relation to the practioner themselves ;) .

Ugh, you're impossible to argue with.
Lots and lots of experience :).
 

Hugo

Concept Artist
Brightrock Games
Nov 14, 2011
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#14
Come on MeinCookie, you are putting more work in defending this than in its actual design...
The difference with the Phoenix, is that the firebird is an archetype, it forms part of a cultural background. If you ask someone to imagine a phoenix, he will envision a firebird!
You're true when you say medieval bestiarys were aiming to the same level of weirdness you're targeting with this concept. They were also, as Zuriki said "Frankensteins" (wich can in fact be an archetype by itself, when conventions apply), but from middle ages to our days they have become archetypes per se. The first representation of something is never an archetype, it turns into one when it has been consistently reproduced to the point of being considered typical.
Also the problem is not in "breaking" archetypes, but in neglecting them or as was said "fall outside them". They admit some degree of manipulation. You do not have to stick to it, but base your design on it. You can play with them. Horny was the most significant dk creature, it was "the devil" and "the reaper", a new design but based on those archetypes so it was full of meaning.
Use of conventions can lead to archetypes that is true. But your design is not conventional at all. As I said, the "frankenstein" can be understood as an archetype by the use of conventions, as there are conventions in how to represent an "alien thing". It's based on the distortion of previosly familiar features. Here two examples to the "alien thing". HR giger's "alien" was a monster made of distorted human parts. And John Carpenter's "the thing" was too, and was at the same time alien and understandable. Medieval bestiarys succeded at this, while yours lack any "familiar feature" that could make people understand it's an alienation.
I think I'm starting to divagate here, but I hope I made clear my point of view...
 
Likes: Zuriki

MeinCookie

Dwarven Worker
Nov 15, 2011
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#15
Come on MeinCookie, you are putting more work in defending this than in its actual design...
As for putting more work into arguing then its actual design, you can't back that up, because it has undergone large quantities of design work, conception, critical analysis and fleshing since long before you came around.

Also the problem is not in "breaking" archetypes, but in neglecting them or as was said "fall outside them". They admit some degree of manipulation. You do not have to stick to it, but base your design on it. You can play with them. Horny was the most significant dk creature, it was "the devil" and "the reaper", a new design but based on those archetypes so it was full of meaning.
There is leeway when working from an Archetype, but if you turn a dragon into a mammal you are almost certainly going outside that. If your going to start everything from Archetypes then there is a limited degree to the diversity. Go look through the ranks of suggestions. Do you think the Sinless is? What about the Manavede, Beholder or the RageWalker? These Archetypes? No they aren't predominant enough, if they've appeared before at all. There is nothing wrong with pure originality, as long as you aren't distorting Archetypes beyond what they can sustain.

  • The Dragon, Werewolf or High Elf for example change very little because they are very, very strong Archetypes.
  • The Kraken is a pretty firm Archetype.
  • The Pheonix is a middle of the line Archetype
  • The Medusa/Gorgon/Naga, Behemoth or the Dryad is not a very firm Archetype. It generally helps if you have a host of similar creatures which intermix.
  • The Redcap, as an example, is a exceptionally weak Archetype. It is known, but people don't have many preconceptions.
As for your 9 layers of hell? They aren't an 100% Archetypal depiction of hell that everybody in modern times defers to, are they? Back then maybe but as you say... only modern preceptions count. Imaginings of hell are more diverse. If you ask me a Hell would be unstructured and chaotic.

I don't consider the Bile Demon as representative of anything other than excess. Does the Slimer in Ghostbusters suddenly have ties to an archaic concept of hell? Honestly, people don't really care whether is totally original or a well-adapted Archetype, as long as it is fitting with the aethsetic direction, has a niche and is balanced.

To be honest, it adds flavor to have weird creatures occupying the slots of the neutrals.

Use of conventions can lead to archetypes that is true. But your design is not conventional at all. As I said, the "frankenstein" can be understood as an archetype by the use of conventions, as there are conventions in how to represent an "alien thing". It's based on the distortion of previosly familiar features. Here two examples to the "alien thing". HR giger's "alien" was a monster made of distorted human parts. And John Carpenter's "the thing" was too, and was at the same time alien and understandable. Medieval bestiarys succeded at this, while yours lack any "familiar feature" that could make people understand it's an alienation.

@Egg This creature has no familiar features? If it were any clearer it would be slapping you in the face.


As I say, insects are the most alien creatures on earth. Also favorite low level creatures in DK. Say hi to the magic bug, Timmy!


Look Mummy, the insidious black smoke is back again! DARK MAGIC! So insubstantial, so dark...



Because having fire coming out of your head is so 100% unseen before, and unrelatable.


Because magic fire being another colour is rare and incomprehensible.

Even the way it walks is familiar from the Dk1 Tentacle.

Its conventions & symbolism are strong enough to get the message across.
 

Hugo

Concept Artist
Brightrock Games
Nov 14, 2011
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#17
I know not everybody agrees in the archetype thing.. No problem. Also being a neutral makes it a bit more acceptable.
The sinless and manavede are not of my liking, but I don't want to offend Evi again, The ragewalker is a sort of "dark knight" (or looks like), and the "beholder" is a typical critter of dungeon crawlers, not universal but still fits.
If I'm putting more words here than in other suggestion threads is because I think debate with you is productive, and because you've made way better suggestions than this one.
Let's just say I don't like it. No big deal, if people likes it so be it. I stated in my first post that all this archetype thing may be just a personal impression, so no problem if you see it other way.
Also design should be an iterative process. Digest the feedback and rethink, no need to counterstrike every commentary, they are not attacks.
The "putting more work into arguing then its actual design" commentary was meant to be friendly, of course I don't really know that.
Anyway, +1 for Hellboy in its "Horned Reaper" form: "Anung un rama"
 

Evi

Witch Doctor
WFTO Backer
Nov 14, 2011
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#18
The sinless and manavede are not of my liking, but I don't want to offend Evi again
Just to say, I think I was just in a bad mood at the time and thought you were insulting it, sorry about that.
But if you got something to say about the Sinless and Manavede, I would like to see what you have to say about it.

@Ontopic

I never really liked the Conjurer, but I don't dislike it either. The skillset is currently fine, but should it have some skill where it throws a projectile from a distance?
 

MeinCookie

Dwarven Worker
Nov 15, 2011
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#19
Also I agree with you to some degree, if it was a creature rather then a neutral it really wouldn't have a chance of fitting. As it stands I'm happy with its appearance, and unless anyone can come up with an appearance more fitting for a beastial, uncontrollable, crazy creature which is still fragile, has a magical oreintation and has a modicum of scare factor attached... it stays as it is. That isn't so easy.

I don't even know why you're concerned, chances are if it does get accepted it will be reimagined by the concept artists anyway.

Fire spit, like the DK 2 Salamander maybe? Also at level 1?
 
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