Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thinking Of System Changes

Having tinkered long with the balance and played through a bit (not nearly enough), the feeling has grown on me that some basic game system changes are needed. Here's a brain dump of my thoughts.

No More Attack Rate Modifier
A generic "Attack Rate" modifier that is translated into a number of attacks/strikes sounded like a good idea, but wasn't. Instead I'm going to try this: A base single attack with a single strike that is increased by (a) level and focus, (b) attack modifiers and (c) misc other stuff like items. Attack modifiers will modify the number of strikes per attack (e.g. Swing +5 grants an extra strike on each Swing attack). Level and class focus will modify the number of attacks (e.g. 2 attacks at level 5 for combat character classes). Other things will modify these numbers directly (e.g. weapons that grant extra attacks or extra strikes per attack).

Modifier Effects (What Might Be Called Skill Trees In Another Game)
In general, every skill modifier and base modifier should grant different effects as they are increased, probably at thresholds like +5, +10.

No Boosting Base Stats At Level Up
The base stats Brawn, Skill, Thieving, Sneaking, Brains, Power will no longer assignable at level up. This will take re-balancing of the class and race starting stats and the level up assignable modifiers, but it should (a) make the class/race choice at character creation much more significant, (b) avoid just spamming these base stats instead of the skill modifiers and (c) allow me to differentiate races and classes more by bumping the starting values to more significant values. I may add a level-up bonus option for bumping these base stats instead.

Fix Foe Data Model
The custom Foe data model needs to be changed to correspond more closely to the Player Character model. As close is possible. This means foes with inventories, using weapons and items that they have available, etc.

No More Stealth Points (Perhaps)
The Stealth points really haven't done the trick, it may be time to do away with them.

A Better Magic System
I want to have differentiate the schools of magic more. For starters: resource management. Instead of every school using a bland pool of Magic points I will introduce a different spell casting mechanism for each. For example:

  • Sorcery (maybe) operates on a D&D-like spell book with reserved spell level slots. Sorcerers may have a starting item (spell book) tied to their casting, and usable as a way of replenishing their spell slots.
  • Elemental magic comes from within: users spend stamina points to cast spells. Users channeling elemental energies through themselves must be careful to avoid letting it get out of control.
  • Black magic users trade portions of their soul for spell casting, perhaps a very large but very slowly (or non) regenerating pool of points to spend coupled with consequences as the total drops towards zero. Consequences culminating in death or possession or something.
  • Need more thought on White Magic (soul again perhaps, but in reverse), Druidism, Enchantment (something to do with the fey) and Witchcraft. 
  • Differences may include how spells become available (all, some, spell picks, etc), whether they can be cast at different casting levels or not.
Secondly, the spell lists need some rework. I want:
  • All unique spells in each school, no more spells shared between schools. For spells that offer important game-system effects (e.g. Identify, Knock-Knock, Heal), alternatives will need to be invented.
  • Better names for each spell. Think MtG rather than D&D.
  • No more spell shortcuts, it was cute but it's over now. The spell dialog search can work on plain old spell name.
  • More spell effects that "break" the system. Inspired by Rampant Coyote's recent blog post I want to have a bash at incorporating some of the "system breaking" D&D spells into Maze. Things like Charming, Divination spells, Teleportation, Flight/Levitation, Shatter, Polymoprh, , Wishes, Time Stop, Disintegration. Those are just the obvious ones, never mind Protection From XYZ, Speak With Plants/Animals/Dead/etc, Animate Objects, Enchant Weapons, Tree/Sanctuary/Statue, etc. Yeah I paged through my first edition D&D Player's Handbook for that :) Some will take a lot of effort, but it's worth a crack.
  • More condition effects. Crazy stuff like infection with a fungus, haunted by a spirit, accompanied by a genie, and so on.
That's about all I can think of for now. This post is probably for my own memory as much as for anyone else :)

I gotta go, it's bath time.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Connor Brett McLachlan

Our first son was born at 12:10 on 8 February; a healthy 4280g bundle of trouble.

Life is a little distracted from the hobby project, but hopefully only temporarily so.