Author Topic: Shadow of the Wyrm v0.6.1 "Riquier"(formerly Savage Lands)  (Read 21327 times)

jcd748

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Re: Shadow of the Wyrm v0.6.1 "Riquier"(formerly Savage Lands)
« Reply #240 on: March 25, 2017, 01:37:24 PM »
Hi proxima_b,

You're correct on all of the below:

1) Every creature has a starting age and a maximum age.  When generated, each creature gets an age within the starting age band for its race.  After each year passes in-game, each creature ages a year (I think the game assumes everyone's born on 1/1) and then the game checks to see if each creature should die.  There are currently no aging attacks, so age doesn't play the role it does in, say, ADOM, but if you want to play a character forever, elves/fae is the way to go.

2) If you look at the source code, the base experience table is in engine/combat/source/ExperienceManager.cpp.  The amount of experience needed for each level is (base_amount * race_multiplier * class_multiplier)

3) The relevant code is in engine/calculation/source/HPRegenerationCalculator.cpp and APRegenerationCalculator.cpp.  There are two components: minutes per "tick" (each tick gets you some amount of regen), and amount per tick.

Minutes per tick (using HP as an example):

- First, get the tile's HP/AP multiplier.  This is generally always 1, but can be modified if there are things on the tile like beds or strange stone markers.
- Get the Health multiplier.  The more Health you have, the lower this is, and so reduces the time per tick.
- Get the Medicine multiplier.  Same as the above.  Pump your Medicine skill, and train up your health, and you'll regen HP much faster.
- Multiply everything together along with the base minutes per hp tick (15) to get the new minutes per HP tick.  Minimum is always 4.

AP:

As above, but there's no skill that lowers the number of minutes per AP tick, and the stat checked is Willpower.

Amount per tick:

This is where the race and class multipliers come into play.  The base HP or AP per tick is 1.  Multiply that by the HP or AP multipliers for both race and class, and you have the amount per tick.

So as you can see, the amount per tick is basically fixed once you select your race and class, but you can reduce the time per regeneration tick by increasing your statistics and skills.

kain

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Re: Shadow of the Wyrm v0.6.1 "Riquier"(formerly Savage Lands)
« Reply #241 on: March 27, 2017, 12:30:33 PM »
- First, get the tile's HP/AP multiplier.  This is generally always 1, but can be modified if there are things on the tile like beds or strange stone markers.
OOooohhhhhhh, that's how you use beds?  And I had no idea what the strange stone markers were.

jcd748

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Re: Shadow of the Wyrm v0.6.1 "Riquier"(formerly Savage Lands)
« Reply #242 on: March 27, 2017, 11:50:32 PM »
Yep, they just passively influence regeneration rates, so they can be useful if you find them in a dungeon.

kain

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Re: Shadow of the Wyrm v0.6.1 "Riquier"(formerly Savage Lands)
« Reply #243 on: March 28, 2017, 03:04:46 PM »
Woo!  Beat the wyrm.  I have some more questions/feedback if you're down for that.

  • When displacing a friendly creature, you are not notified that there is anything on the ground.  Similarly if you are auto-moving and stop due to hostile creatures, you do not see the item you happen to stop on.
  • The game generates a bunch of 0 byte log files, suchly: sotw-20170315-22.log.  I am guessing that this is related to the debug settings in the ini file.  Maybe log files could be dumped into a /log directory?
  • Can character dumps include XP totals?
  • If I kill the wyrm and choose to keep playing, the dude in the original town should acknowledge that I killed the wyrm and completed his quest.
  • Can I see completed quests?
  • Can I see special messages after they've cleared my message buffer?  (level messages, quest text, etc)
  • The "carry" skill never seems to automagically improve like the rest of the skills do.  Come to think of it, magic skills (arcane, cantrips) don't ever seem to improve automatically either.
  • On a similar note, once you get a skill to 100, you can still get "improvement" messages for that skill.
  • I'd love the ability to learn skills that I don't start with.  Learning to forge would have been fun, as would learning all the other magic skills, or oceanography!
  • Traps can generate on stairs, making it difficult to find them on occasion.
  • I feel like "spellbook of aim" generates at a very very high rate.  I find 2-3 per dungeon level most levels.
  • Any thoughts on a "glove" or "gauntlet" armour type?
  • Base stats do not seem to have a bearing on HP/AP.  Are they just used for calculations (combat, magic, environmental) instead?

After I beat the wyrm, I chose to continue to play.  I spent some time diving in the endless dungeon.  Floor -3000 was worth 1.4M XP.
Hmm, let's keep going.  Floor -4000 was worth 2.67M XP.

Stats after floor -4000:
Code: [Select]
Rhon             OgWz   Str:64  Dex:69  Agi:61  Hea:60  Int:65  Wil:53  Cha:67  L50,100%  Ev/Sk: 170/103  E  Spd:53
HP:227/227  AP:295/295  [-4000']
Level 50, 140665020 experience.  Multipliers: Ogre 1.1, Wizard 1.1.

Then I decided to escape that dungeon, drink all my 'gain ability' potions and figure out what resists I was missing and get equipment enchanted up to try and fill in those resistance gaps. 

Why do this since I already 'beat' the game?  2 reasons. 
1 - I'm a filthy min/maxer
2 - there's still some celestial being floating around out there who has my cosmos stone.

Anyhow, after drinking a bunch of potions and making (and wearing and evaluating) over a hundred wyvern-hide caps and almost 50 other various caps I found one with a bunch of suitable resists.  I know from experience they can increase when I enchant the item.  Enchanting that cap, my dragon boots and a pair of rings (to fill in the missing arcane resistance) I'm left with the following stats and equipment:
Code: [Select]
Rhon             OgWz   Str:99  Dex:99  Agi:99  Hea:99  Int:99  Wil:95  Cha:99  L50,100%  Ev/Sk: 298/156  E  Spd:53
HP:227/227  AP:295/295
------------------------------------------------------- Equipment ------------------------------------------------------
  [a] Head         : uncursed wyvern-hide cap [28, 21]  [0.44 lbs]
      Resists/Flags: {0.15Co 0.11Ac 0.15Ho 0.13Sh 0.04Li}
  [b] Neck         : uncursed ruby amulet "Eunoia" [17, 7]  [0.25 lbs] (glow)
      Resists/Flags: {0.20Ps 0.20Ho 0.20Sh 0.20Ar}
  [c] Right Finger : uncursed ring of sorcery [43, 26]  [0.13 lbs]
      Resists/Flags: {0.15Ho 0.33Ar 0.02Li}
  [d] Left Finger  : uncursed ring of sorcery [66, 22]  [0.13 lbs]
      Resists/Flags: {0.07He 0.11Ac 0.35Ar}
  [e] Wielded      : uncursed divine blade "Heart's Fury" (12d6+12)  [14.00 lbs] (glow)
      Resists/Flags: {0.40Sl 0.40Pi 0.50Ho}
  [f] Off Hand     : uncursed elemental shield (Acid) [40, 32]  [4.00 lbs]
      Resists/Flags: {0.17He 0.16Co 0.15Ac 0.17Li}
  [g] Body         : uncursed Atuan silver chain mail "Silari" [9, 10]  [2.00 lbs]
      Resists/Flags: {0.10Sl 0.10He 0.10Co}
  [h] Around Body  : uncursed Gildi's Cloak [4, 2]  [2.00 lbs] (glow)
      Resists/Flags: {0.15He 0.15Co 0.15Ac 0.15Ps 0.15Ho 0.15Sh 0.15Ar}
  [i] Feet         : uncursed dragon boots (Lightning) [47, 14]  [5.00 lbs]
      Resists/Flags: {0.18He 0.20Li}
  [j] Ranged       : uncursed august longbow "Lora" (6d6)  [4.00 lbs] (glow)
      Resists/Flags: {0.10Pi}
  [k] Ammunition   : uncursed Faerie Shield [20, 5]  [2.00 lbs] (glow)
      Resists/Flags: {0.15He 0.15Sh 0.15Ar}
I'm amused that I can drop whatever I want into the 'ammo' slot.  I don't remember if it helped with resistances.  I'd also point out that since you can't enchant artifacts, my maximum Evade/Soak could be a lot higher if I was wearing 'normal' gear.  Can't beat those resists though!

Last on my list for this char is to find the cosmos stone (and finally find the rest of the whiteflowers for one of the original quests)

What can I do to help with further developement of this game?
« Last Edit: March 28, 2017, 04:01:02 PM by kain »

jcd748

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Re: Shadow of the Wyrm v0.6.1 "Riquier"(formerly Savage Lands)
« Reply #244 on: March 28, 2017, 11:57:10 PM »
I am always down for more feedback.  This is good stuff:

1. Good catch.  I'll add it to my to-do list.
2. Makes sense.  Added to my list.
3. Also a good idea.  Added to my list.
4. That's definitely a bug.  I wrote the quest before allowing the player to continue after slaying Amaurosis.  Added to my list.
5. They're part of the character dump.
6. Not at the moment.  How useful would this be?  My concern would be having to go through all the places in-game that add messages and figure out which are "important".
7. Yup.  Will look at having those train automatically.
8. Definitely an oversight, probably a big.  Will fix.
9. I'm torn on this.  Some skills are available in-game, but if e.g. Smithing is made available, it destroys any reason to play a Smith, other than getting the skill a little earlier.  I definitely want to have class differentiation via skills.
10. Intentional.  You can always use the "L"ook command.
11. The item generation algorithm sucks less than previous versions, but it still has quirks.  I've made some minor adjustments, and it should be less common in future versions.
12. I'd thought about this, but all the creature damage/HP is built around the current set of eq slots.  Part of my reluctance is that there's only so much room on the screen in 80x25.  I could add it, but I'd need to remove something else.  One of the ring slots would be a likely candidate.  Because of that, I've never thought about it seriously.
13. They don't affect it right now.  Again, I've considered it, but right now, pumping health will increase your Soak, which in a sense acts like HP.  It's actually, it's better in some sense, as it as a damage canceller.

Congrats on winning the game!  I haven't seen a lot of reported victories, though I've seen a handful.  I tend to like the spellcasting classes, as well.  I often play witchlings because I'm lazy and don't have to hunt for spellbooks (this is also why I play Pugilists, on the warrior-y side).

You've hit on the central trade-offs of artifacts.  They're static and immutable, but tend to come with much higher resists than are possible via most other pieces of equipment.  I haven't made spreadsheets out of this stuff, but my intention is that people take skins or found equipment if they want evade and soak, artifacts for resists (generally).

Let me know if you want hints for the cosmos stone.  I think I added one to the dwarf who gives you the quest a few versions ago.  You'll need a key for the underground prison, and the key is hidden away.

If you beat the creature guarding the cosmos stone (and I have to stress that it's an optional quest, and the boss is harder than the wyrm), you get a rather ridiculously overpowered sword.

I'm glad you're enjoying the game.  The game itself still feels very "early" to me.  There's a lot of set things to do, but the random locations aren't very interesting yet.  I guess I'm looking for a number of different things:

- Bug reports, first and foremost!  I try to keep the game as reasonably bug-free as possible, and crash bugs are my top priority.
- Feedback on mechanics and gameplay
- Various suggestions like the ones you have above
- Anything else!

SotW doesn't have a huge player base, but I've benefited enormously from the suggestions that players have given me.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 12:16:17 AM by jcd748 »

proxima_b

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Re: Shadow of the Wyrm v0.6.1 "Riquier"(formerly Savage Lands)
« Reply #245 on: March 30, 2017, 06:32:51 AM »
I put together some tables that might be helpful to newer players. I mostly put them together to help myself think through new characters. They contain stats, resistances, skills and weapon skills for all races and classes in a pretty easy to read format. If you do see anything outright wrong, please PM me here on the forum, and I'll make the correction.

Tables of Stats, Resistances, and Skills for Playable Races and Classes: https://pastebin.com/VEsCvzPV
+some notes on status effects

Oh, and I'm really starting to love some of those bits of poetry on the New Game screen. They're such fantastic flavor. Today's is from Pound's "Canto I," and it's got all this great play on consonant sounds. Anyway. Back to it.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2017, 05:23:48 PM by proxima_b »

kain

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Re: Shadow of the Wyrm v0.6.1 "Riquier"(formerly Savage Lands)
« Reply #246 on: April 19, 2017, 02:18:14 AM »
So I've won twice more, working on number 4 right now.  I have died lots of times.  I have a little more feedback:

Towns do not repopulate their original citizen type (ogre town doesn't regenerate ogres, for example)

Mage types really get hamstrung without an offensive spell.  Would it be overpowered to guarantee them an offensive spell and then maybe a chance at another couple of spellbooks?  I just started a new character if I happened to not get an offensive spellbook.

On the note of offensive spells, the range of the bolts and beams is rather short.  I get that you don't want someone nuking the entire map from halfway across the screen but maybe the range of the early/lower level spells could be inversely proportionate to their level?  It's hard to get close enough to a mob in the early game and have enough time to nuke it before it one-shots you.  There's almost no chance you can run away and gain ground from it either, in the early game.

Due to the auto-run not stopping at intersections, the sewers are (to me, might not be to everyone) frustrating to navigate and explore.  I was curious though, so I did dive down 20 or so floors to see if there was anything significantly different between sewers and dungeons.  I did not discover anything very different.  Are they just thematically different?

Can you modify your speed?  There are spells, but they don't change the visible speed number.  Is a bigger or smaller number better?

The status lines along the bottom of the screen should have a newline in there somewhere.
The game starts out like so:
Code: [Select]
Kobik            HmAd   Str:11  Dex:11  Agi:12  Hea:12  Int:12  Wil:13  Cha:9   L1,0%  Ev/Sk: 9/4  G  Spd:50  HP:8/8
AP:6/6

But as you gain EXP and gain/lose HP, the HP line can "jump" between the top line and the bottom line.  I would personally prefer to see:
Code: [Select]
Kobik            HmAd   Str:11  Dex:11  Agi:12  Hea:12  Int:12  Wil:13  Cha:9   
HP:8/8   AP:6/6  L1,0%  Ev/Sk: 9/4  G  Spd:50
It's important (to me) to have HP in the same spot all the time.

I'm pretty sure in my first winning game I found altars in the infinte dungeon.  This game, however, I get the "holy presence" message but there aren't ever any altars that I can find.

Without the ability to read (which I recognize you can get from Cynwise) I feel like your run is over.  If you can't read scrolls, then you have almost no way to get rid of cursed equipment and no way to enchant items other than smithing them if you happen to be a smith.  That's pretty significant in my opinion.

I have noticed that some of the random shops in random towns do not spawn fully stocked.  Is this by design?

Anyhow, looking forward to the new version and @proxima_b -- I'm really digging the charts you made.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 12:38:56 PM by kain »

jcd748

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Re: Shadow of the Wyrm v0.6.1 "Riquier"(formerly Savage Lands)
« Reply #247 on: May 11, 2017, 12:57:22 AM »
Hi kain,

- Towns: it's still early and they kind of suck - I'll add this to my bug list though.
- Mages: which type?  Oracles and Priests are meant to be not purely offensive.  Sages are luck of the draw.  Wizards and Witchlings are meant to be your go-to offensive types.
- A lot of the early spells are meant to be underpowered, range-wise.  There are alternative techniques to softening up creatures - e.g., ranged combat for a few tiles, then finishing off with spells.
- Sewers are just thematically different at the moment.  I'll add intersection-stopping to my to-do list.
- Speed can be modified, but it's very difficult to do so.  There are spells (haste), and some classes (thief, I think?) can get speed bonuses.  There's also an artifact ring that'll do it.  Lower speed is better.
- HP placement: What terminal size are you playing in?  I always have it in the right spot at 80x25.  There's a lot of stuff in wider terminal sizes that doesn't really work right.
- Not sure why the shops aren't generating fully stocked.  Probably due to the item generation algorithm, and not finding an item in the given range for the type it decided on.  I'll look at it eventually.

Sorry for the long-ish delay in getting a new version out.  There's still a lot to do, and I have less time week to week than I used to.  But I'm slowly chipping away at it.  I wish I could get a version out, but it feels good to be working on features that take more than a month of my limited development time.

Laiders

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Re: Shadow of the Wyrm v0.6.1 "Riquier"(formerly Savage Lands)
« Reply #248 on: June 04, 2017, 01:47:26 AM »
I must say I really am enjoying Shadow of the Wyrm. I've yet to win partly because I seem to have an almost masochistic inclination towards squishy races and classes. My graveyard is littered with scores of Fae Sages who got one shot diving the dungeon or taking on the graveyard before they levelled up and got any HP at all! That said I thought I'd share a few thoughts:

1. At some point the mechanical obscurity of this game needs to come down a couple of notches. I feel this is most important for combat and magic skills as understanding roughly what these do to rolls is quite important for building successful characters in any roguelike. This is especially important for more complex skills such as duel wield. I learnt via experimentation and use of the W command that you really must use a dagger or short blade in your off-hand at least up to ~30 skill, which is where my current wood elf rover is at. To do this in a more natural mannr than simply dumping statistical information in an in-game or external guide, you could always include prompts such as 'You feel awkward wielding two large weapons in each hand. Try using a smaller weapon (until you gain more skill with this fighting style - assuming the penalty can be eliminated with more skill). Indeed, non-combat skills could simply take the short descriptions they currently have in the guide and make them viewable in-game. 

I do realise you are in an early stage of development so this is a low priority suggestion but it is the first one that strikes me whenever I play Shadow of the Wyrm and one of the more pressing annoyances when playing/testing.

Oh on a similar note, you may want to make it slightly clearer when certain actions are going to be dangerous/fatal. For example, a very promising Dwarf Noble (currently top of my score board and I think my only L12 char) came to a rather ignoble end when he accidentally committed suicide stepping out of a certain window. A small clarifying note added on to the current prompt such as 'The fall looks a long way' would make it much clearer to the player that they are not going to survive stepping out the window without a source of flight. OTOH if it is always unsurvivable, even with a source of flight, then you may want to eliminate it entirely as it then has no gameplay or story purpose and is simply a source of frustration for newer players. I have no idea if there are any other such situations at the moment as I haven't really roamed off the home island yet.

2. From a historical perspective (and indeed the perspective of an actual fencer IRL), your weapon categories for swords seem a little odd. A broadsword is classed as a long blade while the longer, potentially significantly longer, rapier is classed as a short blade? You could capture a distinction along the line cutting versus thrusting blades if you really want to distingush between two categories of swords but personally I would argue this distinction should be dropped entirely.

The reason for this all one-handed swords have broad similarities in technique and use (as well as marked differences depending on exact blade characteristics, combat conditions (eg. civilian or battlefield, armoured vs. unarmoured opponents etc.) and whether the weapon was predominantly cut or thrust or equal) in use so short swords don't really exist as a distinct category to long swords. There are simply shorter and longer swords. You certainly could make a distinction between 1 handed and 2 handed swords as these are different categories of weapons that perform different battlefield roles and require fundemental differences in technique to use correctly.

A distinction between cut and thrust weapons would be interesting (as they could have different damage profiles, cause different status effects etc.) but might cause some problems categorising weapons. Rapiers are clearly thrust dominant weapons but, contrary to common belief, possessed razor-sharp cutting edges used to inflict distracting or impeding minor wounds (especially to the unprotected face and sword arm of the opponent) to set up a killing thrust later on. Likewise, classic cutting swords, such as the Ancient Greek kopis or pretty much any variant of cavalry sabre, were routinely used for thrusting attacks when the opportunity arose. Indeed, in the 18th and 19th centuries there was much debate over whether sabres should be used to cut or thrust in the charge. Such a category could end up feeling as arbitary as the current distinction between short and long blades.

On that note there should be no weight difference between a rapier, a broadsword and a longsword/arming sword. Those weapons all weighed roughly the same weight and it was about 1 kg (10lbs in game). Longswords designed for two-handed use (either partially or fully) would weight up to 2kg, sometimes more in the case of later evolutions such as the Doppelhander, but these would be captured under 'greatsword' within the game. Thus, as the game seems to penalise duel-wielding two long blades, a character should end up duel-wielding a rapier/broadsword/arming sword and a dagger/main gauche/sword breaker or whatever other companion weapons you might have (including things such as laterns or touches if these get added) not a broadsword and a rapier as my current character is. I feel, if the game engine would allow it and it's not ridiculous to do, that a distinction based on weight would be the best way to determine the penalty. So a lighter 'short sword' or hachet type weapon would be useable without penalty whereas larger weapons in the same category would not be.

Does the game already do this? I noticed my light rapier (2lbs) has the smallest target number, 54 base 48 mod , my woodsman's axe (6lbs) has a target number 83 base 66 mod and my briar axe (10lbs) has 86/70. Bear in mind I have like 20 skill in axes and no skill in short blades (and 20 skill in long blades if the rapier is actually classed as a long blade).

Now some questions

1. Is the starting dungeon infinite? I've gone down several levels past Siriath with no signs of it petering out.

2. Are there crafting stations for the other skills such as wandcraft and bowyering? My rover could really do with being able to make a bow as he can't buy one and throwing rocks is a bit undignified for a master archer!

3. Why do rovers not have the combat skill (which I understand generally improves melee combat ability) when they start with two melee weapons and are thus, to start, a melee-oriented class with good skills for using ranged combat as an adjunct to melee combat?

4. What, in broad terms, does levelling up the magic stats do? Do it simply give bonuses to hit chance and damage as levelling up weapons does?

5. Do sages learn additional Primordial spells or are they stuck with Shadow Flame? I've got Sages up to L5 or 6 without seeing any new Primordial spells?

6. Is learning Old Runic simply a matter of levelling up literacy once you acquire it or will certain characters never be able to learn it at all? Can characters who start without skill in magic or literacy potentially still learn cantrips from spellbooks?

I think that's it for now...

Hope this is at least interesting! Thanks for the awesome game so far. I look forward to its further development!

jcd748

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Re: Shadow of the Wyrm v0.6.1 "Riquier"(formerly Savage Lands)
« Reply #249 on: June 04, 2017, 02:33:37 AM »
Hi Laiders,

Thanks for your suggestions.  Sages are one of my favourite classes (I'm lazy and usually just play witchlings).  They're meant to be really hard in the early going, and require a bit of work to gain a few levels.  Once they do, though...

So, yes, dual wielding is a bit obtuse in terms of the mechanics.  But the basics are: if you have no Dual Wield, you get penalized a ton.  If you have dual wield but are wielding a "too-heavy" weapon in your off-hand, you're penalized.  If you're wielding something light enough, the penalties come way down.  "too heavy" varies by strength:

    // For every five points of strength, a creature can carry a pound of
    // weight in the off hand without penalty.  Every creature can always
    // carry at least a pound without penalty in their off hand (the
    // dagger rule).

I struggle with the balance between making mechanics crystal clear, and having a game where much is left to discovery.  I tend to err on the side of being ADOM-ish: the mechanics are there, and they can be figured out, either in game, or by reading the code.  This is not ideal, but is where I am right now.

Similarly, the warnings in the game tend to be there for a good reason.  If you fell out of Zaeda's Tower, or Wintersea Keep, well, you'll probably only do that once.

There's an optional setting you can use, though:

; For the super paranoid, enable this setting to have the game disallow
; you from ever moving on to dangerous tiles (mountains, water, etc).
never_move_to_danger_tiles=0

Set it to 1, and ideally you should be okay.

As to your questions:

1. It's not infinite, but goes down a ways.  There's an infinite dungeon just to the north-east of the starting island, though, and an infinite sewer a bit to the north-west.

2. I believe for both of these, you just need the relevant skill and an appropriate item.  In the case of wandcraft, you'll also have to have knowledge of applicable spell.

3. Combat is a major differentiator of the classes at the moment, providing a significant boost to accuracy/damage/etc.  The simple reason they don't have it is that it would take away a major reason for playing a warrior.

4. The individual magical skills play a large part in allowing you to learn spells.  Without Divine, for example, you'll have a hell of a time trying to learn the simplest Divine spellbooks.  And depending on how badly you fail, and the difficulty of the spell, some very bad things can happen.  But with it, it becomes much easier.

5. They do.  They learn primordial spells slower and less effectively than witchlings, but gain up to Nightfire, eventually.

6. Old Runic is the language of the non-cantrip spheres of magic.  You need the Magic skill to be able to read Old Runic.  You can still learn cantrips without it, though - these are helpfully written in whatever language your character can read and write.  See my note above in (4) - hypothetically someone without Cantrips could learn Cantrips, but they'd need a very high literacy, very high intelligence and willpower, very low blood-alcohol content, and would need to get very lucky on the roll.

Glad you're enjoying the game!  I'm currently slogging away at the next release, and it'll be a while still.  Let me know if you run into any bugs.

jcd748

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Re: Shadow of the Wyrm v0.6.1 "Riquier"(formerly Savage Lands)
« Reply #250 on: June 10, 2017, 03:04:24 PM »
A question for the tenacious SotW players out there.

I'm adding counter-strikes to the current release.  They're based on a combination of Combat skill, and Dexterity.  Currently, these are checked after any attack attempt (though counters to counters are explicitly disallowed).  Should these be attacked on the defending creature only after a successful attack?