Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Zephyr Hounds

On the subject of elemental magic, I've always wanted to D&D-ize the Zephyr Hounds from the roguelike ToME. One of the most dangerous creatures in the game, there are many varieties based on various elements, from fire to 'impact' and 'ethereal', and they roam in packs around the dungeon, breathing their element of choice and generally making life extremely difficult for the player. (Like all contemporary roguelikes, ToME's AI is pretty decent, and the Zephyr Hounds are clever about not letting themselves get caught in confined areas - so they can use their breath attacks to maximum effect.)

So over the next few days I'll stat up a few BECMI versions for your reading pleasure.

I was woken up at 5am by an earthquake this morning and couldn't get back to sleep, so this is the extent of my blogging activities for today.


  1. Oh dear god, Zephyr Hounds! I hate those things!

    I'm more of a *hacker than a *bander, myself, but those vicious bastards frankly terrify me. Especially in the recent versions of Vanilla, where they are smart enough to lurk juuuust around the corners of room entrances and wreck your face with a dozen breath weapons the second you step inside.

    And they NEVER SLEEP. *shudder*

  2. Hey, anything compatible with BECMI/RC is totally fine with me.

  3. Pretty sure that Zephyr Hounds came out of Rolemaster.

  4. Rob: I never touch *hack games (I wonder if *hack and *band fans engage in 4th edition vs. old school D&D-esque flame wars somewhere in internet land? I'd like to get in on that action!).

    Ardwulf: Really? That's interesting, I never knew that. I always assumed they were from Zelazny's amber books - most strange creatures in *band roguelike games tend to come from Zelazny.

  5. @noisms: Hell yes they do. It's just a bit more sedate because (with a few exceptions) the rogue-like audience is mostly limited to UNIX gurus, university computer science students, and graybeards who played Rogue. The boundary is less polarized, because more folks seem to like both games, but the flamewars are out there. The worst of them usually happen on the Nethack and Angband forums, or in the dark reaches of their Usenet groups, where sane men do not dare to tread.

    It's another apples-to-oranges thing, though. *Bands are more about cautious exploration, restraint, and grinding for levels and good items. *Hacks tend to better reward player cleverness, resourcefulness, and seat-of-your-pants ingenuity. Personally, I like that better than a long level grind, but it definitely doesn't hold up as well over a long game. I play both pretty frequently, but Nethack's the only one I've ever won at.

    I'm pretty sure Zephyr Hounds aren't Zelazny, if it helps. I know they aren't in any of the Amber books, and besides: they appear in Vanilla Angband as well, which wasn't based on Zelazny at all. I've always suspected that, like the Quylthulg, they came out of the developer's twisted and often drunken imaginations.

  6. @Ardwulf: A quick google search seems to confirm your statement.