Vine Stalker

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Version 0.20: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
Limber in shape, Vine Stalkers are anthropomorphic masses of thick vines. They possess a once-humanoid core, parasitised moments before death by the magical vines. Lacking any other discernible features, their faces are dominated by the disproportionate, vicious maw with which they disrupt and devour the magical energies of their foes.

Magic courses freely through their bodies, and any damage they take is split between their health and magical reserves. They also physically regenerate at an alarming rate. However these traits come at a price: the dual nature of their bodies makes them extremely frail, and they cannot benefit from potions to heal their wounds.

Living examples of adaptation, Vine Stalkers level up quickly and lend well to an all-out offensive style; trusting their stealth to choose their prey and then their regenerating capabilities to power through the wounds they may sustain in battle. Many members of the species however, are seen wielding magic quite competently and then switching to a hybrid style when their reserves start to run low, thus replenishing their shroud of magic and their spells' fuel with each voracious bite.

Contents

Innate Abilities

  • Fangs 2, improving to Fangs 3 at level 8.
    • Antimagic bite: A Vine Stalker's bite disrupts enemy spellcasting capabilities as though it had the antimagic brand (but does not reduce your maximum MP capacity). Each bite also has a chance to restore some MP depending on how much damage was inflicted and your current MP percentage.
Damage done: Fangs_level×2 + XL/3
Drained MP: 1dDamage_done × (1.25 - MP/MaxMP)

Vine Stalkers have a base Strength of 10, Intelligence of 8 and Dexterity of 9 (before Background modifiers). They have +1 base magic points.

Preferred Backgrounds

Level Bonuses

Starting Skills and Equipment

Vine Stalkers receive the skills and equipment listed for their background.

Difficulty of Play

EasyModerateHard

In spite of their reduced HP and inability to heal from potions, the Vine Stalker's inherent spirit shield and excellent regeneration keeps them fairly durable for much of the mid- to late-game. Their high Stealth aptitude makes them formidable stabbers and, while their Intelligence is mediocre, their all-around average Magic aptitudes allow for a versatile hybrid build.

Skill aptitudes

The higher the value, the better the aptitude.

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

Strategy

Vine stalkers are a surprisingly durable species. In spite of their spriggan-sized HP pools and unimpressive defensive skill aptitudes, their innate spirit shield intrinsic means that a portion of all incoming damage is redirected to their MP; the larger the character's MP pool, the more damage will be redirected to it. On top of that, they have better HP regeneration than trolls, and each time they bite in melee, there's a chance that they'll recover a chunk of MP as well. Coupled with their full access to all forms of armour, this gives them an excellent capacity both to avoid serious injury and to recover from it after the fact. Just be ready for the appearance of eyes of draining, ghost moths, or other threats to your MP - they will chew through your supernatural defenses with lightning speed, leaving you significantly less hardy than normal.

In spite of their excellent regeneration, they are even less capable of immediate healing than mummies, unable to benefit from potions of heal wounds, and only receiving the status effect recovery aspect of potions of curing. This weakness is felt most powerfully in the early game, when a potion of heal wounds can completely restore your HP, but is still a significant penalty in the late game. Even so, their vastly enhanced regeneration is an excellent replacement, and all other sources of healing still function as normal.

Apart from a knack for Stealth and a general weakness in defensive skills, vine stalkers have no real aptitude issues, and can easily be built for any role, excelling perhaps as sneaky stabbers. Their mediocre intelligence makes them less than optimal for dedicated casters; they do make good Transmuters, though, as Blade Hands lets them keep their bonus bite attack and their only non-negative combat skill is Unarmed Combat. Using a form with increased health is also an excellent way to get around their natural -30% hp aptitude; this generally means either statue or dragon form.

History

Vine Stalkers were added in 0.14.

Species
HumanHigh ElfDeep ElfDeep DwarfHill OrcHalflingKoboldSprigganOgreTrollNagaCentaurMerfolkMinotaurTenguDraconianGargoyleFormicidVine StalkerDemigodDemonspawnMummyGhoulVampireFelidOctopode