Formicid

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Version 0.25: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
This page is about the player species. For the monster, see Formicid (monster).
The Formicids are a species of humanoid ants. Just like their tiny insect ancestors, the Formicids are well adept at earth work, both on the physical and magical sides. Their abilities have been used to tunnel immense underground communities and structures, many of which are tens of thousands of years old.

Perhaps unfortunately, their strong ties to earth have left them completely impervious to being teleported or hasted; Formicids are tied to the earth with a complete sense of stasis. While this is a seemingly bad property for a dungeon adventurer, stasis has the beneficial effect of preventing many types of nasty hexes and maledictions.

With the ability to lift ten times their own weight, the Formicids have strength rivaling that of ogres. This, along with the fact that they have four arms, allows Formicid warriors to equip both a shield and a two-handed weapon at the same time.

Formicids make good earth and venom mages, but are quite capable at both melee and ranged combat too. They are naturally bad at air magic and conjurations.

Innate Abilities

  • Antennae 3: Formicids can sense monsters within 7 tiles (even through walls) and can also see invisible.
    • Formicids cannot wear any form of headgear.
  • Formicids have four arms, and can treat most melee and ranged weapons as one-handed. Giant clubs, giant spiked clubs, and large rocks are still too large for them to use, however. Their multiple limbs also allow them to use shields with the same reduced penalties as large races.
  • Formicids can dig through walls as an innate ability. First, they have to extend their mandibles, and then move into a rock wall or iron grate to start making the tunnel. Digging takes 2+movement delay auts per square, makes some noise, and has a hefty food cost.
  • Formicids can create a shaft under themselves as an innate ability, allowing them to escape downwards. Unlike digging, this ability is silent. Note that you cannot use it on the last level of a branch, nor in the Abyss, Hell, Pandemonium, or Ziggurats.
  • Formicids have permanent stasis, rendering them unable to take advantage of translocative effects, Haste, berserk, and Swiftness, but also granting immunity to paralysis and slowing (but not petrification). Finesse as well as Lugonu's Bend Space ability and the Passage of Golubria spell work as normal, however.

Formicids have a base Strength of 12, Intelligence of 7 and Dexterity of 6 (before Background modifiers).

Preferred Backgrounds

Level Bonuses

Starting Skills and Equipment

Formicids receive the skills and equipment listed for their background.

Difficulty of Play

SimpleIntermediateAdvanced

Skill aptitudes

The higher the value, the better the aptitude.

Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude
Attack Miscellaneous Magic
Fighting 1 Armour 1 Spellcasting 0
Short Blades 0 Dodging -1 Conjurations -1
Long Blades 0 Stealth 3 Hexes 2
Axes 0 Shields 2 Summonings 0
Maces & Flails 0 Necromancy 0
Polearms 0 Translocations -1
Staves 0 Transmutations 1
Unarmed Combat 0
Fire Magic 0
Throwing 0 Ice Magic 0 Invocations 2
Slings 1 Air Magic -2 Evocations 1
Bows -2 Earth Magic 2
Crossbows 0 Poison Magic 3 Experience 1

Strategy

Formicids are blessed and cursed with some of the most dramatic species mutations in Crawl, resulting in a very unique play experience. Their ability to wield 2-handed weapons and shields simultaneously, coupled with their high Armour skill aptitude and access to almost all armour, allows them to deal stupendous amounts of damage without sacrificing anything from their defenses. Although they still can't wield giant clubs, wielding any 2-handed weapon in one hand is still a massive advantage, making a formicid with end-game quality equipment far deadlier than most.

Unfortunately, they also come with one of the heaviest handicaps of any species, making it difficult to survive dangerous encounters that others can simply bail on. While permanent stasis does protect you from slow and paralysis effects, it also disables a wide variety of incredibly useful panic buttons; teleports and blinks are the most obvious, but all sources of haste and berserking are also rendered useless. Where some characters can simply buff up and plow their way through dangerous foes or crowds of attackers before disappearing if a fight starts looking unwinnable, a formicid must play more cautiously.

Take advantage of the resources formicids have at their disposal. Your innate digging ability allows you to create choke points, making it much safer to fight large bands of enemies. As it is fairly slow to use, you may want to create zig-zagging tunnels (to break line of sight) in advance, near areas where there are multiple enemies. Assuming you aren't at the bottom floor of a branch, your Shaft ability is a guaranteed escape from any fight, but consider using it before you're at the brink of death; it takes a few turns to kick in, and it's much easier to survive on an unexplored, more dangerous floor when you're relatively unscathed.

While formicids can't blink normally, Dithmenos' Shadow Step provides an effect similar to Controlled Blink. Likewise, Passage of Golubria and Lugonu's Bend Space ability cause space to bend, not you, and thus still function as normal for you. Spells that disable enemies (Slow, Petrify, Cause Fear, and other Hexes) are excellent for letting you just outrun enemies you can't handle. Also, do not overlook your Formicid's excellent Earth and Transmutation aptitudes: Passwall in combination with your innate digging ability is a panic button that only takes a few turns. Set up right, it's even better than reading a scroll of blinking since you will end up with a wall between you and your pursuers. Be sure to leave enough time for the spell to complete (two turns at minimum); attempting to flee this way when you are one hit away from death will likely end poorly.

Your antennae and high Stealth aptitude allow you to see large bands and dangerous opponents before engaging them, making it much easier for you to lure individuals away from a group or simply avoid fights entirely. When pursued by an enemy you can't outrun or hex, luring it over a teleport trap is a great way to lose it, so keep an eye out for those. Be careful not to enter the trap yourself, as it will still activate and vanish in spite of your stasis. Most importantly, don't forget that simply walking away before an impossible fight begins is sometimes the best option you've got. This makes boots of running particularly desirable; it is one of the only methods a formicid has of outrunning opponents.

When it comes to god selection for a more melee-oriented fomicid character, Trog may seem like a poor choice due to formicids' stasis, but isn't entirely out of the question. While Trog's berserk ability will not function, both of its later, more powerful invocations will still function normally.

Another god you might consider is Lugonu, whose Bend Space ability will allow you to blink despite your stasis. Later, you'll get the ability to banish dangerous foes to the Abyss or retreat there yourself in an emergency -- while the Abyss isn't exactly safe, it can still be safer than, say, staring down multiple orbs of fire. Alternatively, use a weapon of distortion to force your foes to blink away and create some distance (or just banish them); distortion even works on monsters that are immune to being banished normally!

Choosing to worship Gozag may also prove beneficial - bribing branches can render particularly dangerous levels like Vaults:5 or Zot:5 much safer, while distracting monsters with piles of gold will give you time to walk away.

Preparing a route to the surface for the Orb run is particularly easy for a Formicid. Once you've cleared Zot:5 and the orb chamber, there's virtually nothing to stop you from digging tunnels all the way up through the Dungeon to make the shortest route possible (even hunger isn't likely to be a problem — you won't need to save those rations any longer). You can also choose to leave a few blind corner tunnels to give yourself a chance to rest or Passwall around any dangerous monsters that bar your way.

History

  • Prior to 0.25, formicids could cast Swiftness.
  • Prior to 0.18, formicids were able to dig even when transformed, had -2 Throwing aptitude, and could not use Okawaru's Finesse.
  • Prior to 0.15, formicids could throw large rocks.
  • Formicids were added in 0.14.
  • During much of their development, formicids were known as "dwants" (or dwarf-ants). They also had less HP but leveled even faster than humans. In addition, they were particularly vulnerable to poison.

References

Tavern discussion

Species
Simple Hill OrcMinotaurMerfolkGargoyleDraconianHalflingTrollGhoulGnoll
Intermediate HumanKoboldDemonspawnPalentongaSprigganTenguDeep ElfOgreDeep Dwarf
Advanced Vine StalkerVampireDemigodFormicidNagaOctopodeFelidBarachiMummy