Erfgame 3 (CLOSED) - Rules and Discussion

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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby Lord of Monies » Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:39 pm

Plot twist! That's what Charlie is. A thinkamancer attuned to the arkendish, being little more than a brain. All he has to do is have it be hidden expertly and everyone will be too busy looking for the man instead of the mind...should anyone ever actually make it to the Charlsecomm throne room.
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby Exate » Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:42 pm

Been doing some rereading of the comic; there's some interesting stuff there with reflections on how we set up our system.

Move values for flying units (or possibly mounts in general) are too low. Stanley's plated red has fifty-six move; even if we assume that it's leveled a few times and boosted its move when its stats went up we're still looking at move values much, much higher than we have in our game. However, note that in that same update we see that move values for flying units aren't static- valley move is one, mountain two, and high mountain three. I'm not sure how this fits in with high mountains apparently being impassible as Jillian brings up when discussing access to Faq; maybe there are high mountains and then really high mountains.

Also in that update is the line "...on a given turn, for a given hex in the Minty Mountains, what are the chances a feral dwagon will pop? One in two hundred?" which is said to be roughly accurate. This implies that the wilds of Erfworld are highly populated. Very much so, in fact; a dwagon is an extremely strong creature. If lesser creatures have proportionately greater pop rates- one in one hundred, eighty, fifty, twenty- then considering how many turns pass, even accounting for the supposition that all these creatures will need to forage or prey on one another to meet upkeep we're still looking at wilds which are full of life and becoming more so all the time, some of which is probably likely to stick around for a very long time and level significantly. It would be difficult to appropriately model this in a game run manually like this one, but we could certainly at least take a stab at it. Something along the lines of making a full list of unit types which might pop in a given terrain type/location, along with a list of probabilities for each. Then I think Googledocs has random number generator capabilities in its spreadsheet function; it should be able to run the pop probabilities for each unit/wildlife type which might pop in a given hex on a given turn and determine what if anything comes up. If we're willing to spend some times in setup and live with staggeringly huge spreadsheets, we could model an entire world's worth of hexes this way on a turn-by-turn basis.

Our stack bonuses and basic infantry stats are likely to be too high. We can see that unled, low-level infantry have attack values averaging two or three even when including all their bonuses from Ansom and Wanda's attack on Warchalking. While we've taken steps here to make our basic infantry units distinct and interesting, I suspect that a base stat line of something like 2/2/1/5+0 for stabbers and 2/1/2/5+0 for pikers would have been more in line with the comic, and then stack bonuses of something like +1 per four units rounded down, maxing at +2. If we leave most of the other stats the same, this would also have the convenient result of making more powerful units vastly stronger than infantry, which seems to reflect Erfworld more to me.

Popping rates: We know that twolls pop either 1/turn or 2/turn in a level 5 capital. The wording there is somewhat ambiguous to me, but given that twolls seem like a Special A for Gobwin Knob it says good things about our pop design. We know that a Level 5 city pops either twelve stacks of eight Pikers and eleven stacks of six Stabbers or seven Gumps in 23 turns. This says somewhat less good things- a level 5 popping six or eight infantry per turn is way less than we have at the moment. Gumps would fit in as a Special D here, I think- Jetstone seems able to pop orlies, unipegataurs, sourmanders, and gumps as their special unit types, but I'm not sure exactly how they map to one another, and of those it's pretty clearly either sourmander or gump in the "biggest and nastiest" slot. Anyway, 1/3 turns isn't that far from what we have. Honestly, I still wonder if pop rate is proportional to city size at all; it's entirely possible that city size only enables new unit types.

There's a note in the wiki page on popping under the "Canon" heading that "Cities may randomly pop extra units, requiring the Ruler to decide to pay a one-time extra cost or disband the unit." This is interesting; not necessarily ideal for implementing in our game mechanics, but it's something that I don't ever recall seeing a reference to in the comic with interesting implications.

City improvement rates. Reading through the comic, I can't help but think that we promote cities much, much too easily. We're playing this like a 4X game, but in Erfworld it seems like city levels are all but static- it's certainly not a simple matter to promote their Level Twos up to Level Three's to give them better defenses and income, or we wouldn't see sides sitting around for hundreds of turns with low-level cities. This is difficult for us to model without starting with fully constructed sides, obviously; if it's staggeringly costly to promote cities, as it probably is, then none of us would ever be able to actually build ourselves up to high levels. At the same time, it's clear that cities are razed on a fairly regular basis, so maybe there's a rebuilding discount to the previous level of construction, or maybe I'm wrong and cities just get torched as often as they get reinforced.

City leveling. Some things in the comic, most notably the description of building construction of Gobwin Knob's new capital, description of Transylvito and the upgrading of Goodminton's tower make me think that cities aren't promoted level by level at all; instead, their components are upgraded piece by piece and Erfworld uses some sort of analysis metric to declare that the resulting city belongs to one level or another. Implementing something like that as our upgrade system would inevitably result in much more unique cities, but also be more difficult to keep track of- every city would need its own profile. It would, however, do a lot to explain the variety in the cities that we've seen throughout Erfworld if a city can be built to whatever specifications its ruler can imagine and afford.


That's all for now. Kaed, answer my PMs faster and I can use all this time on replying to you instead.
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby Kaed » Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:51 pm

I enjoy reading your analysis of these things, actually, but my biggest problem is, as you said, implementation. I'm trying my best to make things faithful to canon, but in many cases there are large parts of crucial information missing that I have to work around and make things up instead. That is why this game is considered in 'beta' right now. I know it has huge holes. I'm sorry, but we don't know how to patch them yet.

I am actually interested in your spreadsheet mathematics stuff though, it might be something to look into in the future. I like numbers and RNG mechanics - anything that makes things more complex and interesting. :ugeek:

Admittedly, most of my complexity lately has been in the implementation of plot and storyline.

But the whole stabbers pop in 6-stacks and pikers in 8-stacks... that's interesting. I missed that. Hmmmm.
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby Lord of Monies » Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:01 pm

To comment on the high move of dwagons you noticed, the problem with our game is that the world map does not compare with erfworld in size. Something with 56 move would be such a phenominal advantage that scouting would all but become irrelevant. Simply hope that they don't reach you from the miles away that they start from. I'd think in the final version the world map would be bigger, so more accurate move could be implemented.
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby 0beron » Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:08 pm

Exate wrote:City improvement rates. Reading through the comic, I can't help but think that we promote cities much, much too easily.

This bit I feel I can comment on. It's early in the game, and we are focused on our Capitals and upgrading. Once we begin expanding, and we have larger armies to maintain, I expect city upgrading won't seem so easy because our treasuries will grow more slowly.
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby Lord of Monies » Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:12 pm

Plus we'll want to keep money to hand in case of promoting a bunch of units to knight, a warlord, an heir, and just generally having money to hand for circumstances like buysing stuff from the magic kingdom or each other. That, and I'm imagining a fear of upgrading a non-capital city loads, only to lose it in an attack and see all that money be wasted.
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby Safaquel » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:54 am

Meh. You guys keep me experiencing spasmatic bursts of wanting to get into the game.
They pass, for now.

But there's an awful lot of micro-management and spreadsheets involved, to be honest. As if you just describe all things in numbers, and these numbers cannot be ignored.
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby Koliup » Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:39 am

Safaquel wrote:Meh. You guys keep me experiencing spasmatic bursts of wanting to get into the game.
They pass, for now.

But there's an awful lot of micro-management and spreadsheets involved, to be honest. As if you just describe all things in numbers, and these numbers cannot be ignored.


It's not that bad.
I made a spreadsheet(mark 2 soon, fellow Stalkers) to keep track of my hilarious finances. Significantly reduces my calculation troubles, while giving me ones of having access to the sheet.
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby Lord of Monies » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:31 am

I've not had that many numbers to worry about when figuring out my incomce. S'pose I don't have the same kind of forces you guys have to concern myself with either. Go pen and paper!
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby Koliup » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:36 am

Heh. When the number of units you have tends to raise by a lot in a single turn, or drop by odd numbers randomly, it helps to have a sheet for this stuff.
Say, what did you decide to do on your decision? Did you pull an Evil King?
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby Kaed » Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:15 am

In the next version of the game we will have to severely curtail the amount of units that pop. The update that exate pointed out shows that cities pop fixed amounts with little deviation - Dhrystone is a level 5, and it popped 6 stabbers a turn or 8 pikers.

Hold on...

Edit:

Yeah, Mary the archer from the Topatato update popped in an 8 stack. I think perhaps that garrison units get full stack and stabbers pay for mobility with reduced pop amount. We could actually alter this right now - none of you have started wholesale infantry production yet, and it would just mean adding or subtracting a few of them.

Or we can wait till next game. Up to you guys.

On the same note - cities. I'm going to have to agree on the analysis metric concept. I think that perhaps a ruler needs to buy individual aspects and then their cities are reclassified based on what is there.

Don't know all the specifics, but it's pretty clear via level 5 cities must have all aspects developed extensively - Faq is probably never going 5
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby Kaed » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:19 am

Thoughts.

Rulers need to pay to build certain aspects in their city, which are designed as they wish. Instead of a point based allotment system (beyond the beginning), they pay for each aspect as they wish, and when they reach a certain point their city levels up.

Subject to revision, but here is an idea.

In order to be level 2, a city must build one of the following upgrades - a wall, and a tower OR a dungeon. None of them need be impressive or even effective - again, Faq. Thinking creating them costs 5k, but they start out by default as all but useless, eg. a little stone hedge that would barely slow an attacker, or a little lookout atop the palace. They must also buy a certain amount of upgrades in any aspect, which may be the new structures in question. Right now I'm thinking probably it will work like the old point based idea except you buy them rather than just get them.
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby Kaed » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:33 am

It occurs to me that there should be a flat cost to upgrade the city, something reasonable like 2500, so that random tiny modifications are discouraged - people should be saving up for large modifications, not increasing the wall strength by 2% a turn, that would be silly.

Unless they have a dirtamancer, who negates the upgrade fee and gives more bang for your schmuck. This actually makes their whole "rare and in high demand" thing make sense.

Levelling up cities is based both on reaching on a certain amount of upgrades and having some or all (depending on the level in question) aspects of the city to a minimum level of development.

There is a global cap to upgrades in a city. Once you reach it you cannot upgrade anything else. This is what creates unique situations like Transilvito's capital - it has failed to meet the wall requirements for level 5, but that's fine because the money went to something more useful, absolutely deadly air defenses.
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby 0beron » Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:17 am

I'm really not sure this makes sense honestly, because the only time where a single part of the city was enhanced separately was when a Dirtamancy scroll was involved. All other cities were upgraded wholesale it seems, and their variation can already be accounted for under our current system. Remember that in our system Capital Sites can totally sacrifice an entire zone to allocate the points elsewhere. This explains Transylvito, Spacerock, and FAQ.

As for popping Infantry, I'm pretty neutral on whether we change it or leave as is in this game...however I'd like it if any units currently being popped are left as is....
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby Kaed » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:19 pm

Hmm good point. Maybe wall or a tower or a dungeon is required for level two.

And zerobear, I'm afraid statements like "because of the walls, technically it was a level four, but..." sort of hint that we're not doing things entirely right. Our levels right now are concrete terms that prepay for the upgrades.

I guess we can leave units the same and just change pop rates.
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby Koliup » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:11 pm

Keep in mind, there are a few problems with rapidly decreasing the infantry pop rate. Mostly the fact that we're really close to each other, and turns have to be done manually, making raising an army quite a long, in real life, process. You also have to remember that Erfworld is HUGE. That's why a 52 move Gwiffon can be considered useful, especially for mercenaries. And that's also why you can have low pop rates; because 'the enemy' has to spend many, many turns rolling his dudes up to your doorstep, during which you can crank out a bunch of units.
Not that I'm against your proposals; they'd do fine. But in a different instance of this game being run. One with a very, very large world.
Though, rarer units do make Croakamancers worth more, especially if it takes that long to raise an army, only to lose and have the enemy 're-raise' it.
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby 0beron » Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:38 pm

That's a good point Kaed, I was just going off my memory so I didn't recall specific quotes like that. However that does cause me to call into question GK City's status as a "hypothetical level 8". If these city levels really are a factor of the upgrades purchased and the city's defendability, why wouldn't GK be an *actual* Lvl 8?

So then comes this question: if our current city rules accomplish the same result as the comic, why bother changing them to something more complex?
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby Exate » Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:14 am

Kaed wrote:I am actually interested in your spreadsheet mathematics stuff though, it might be something to look into in the future. I like numbers and RNG mechanics - anything that makes things more complex and interesting.
I'll try to mock up a demo sheet one of these days when I get some free time. A lot of free time.

Kaed wrote:I think perhaps that garrison units get full stack and stabbers pay for mobility with reduced pop amount.
This has been bugging me for a while and I have to ask- where are we getting the idea that stabbers aren't ever popped as garrison units? Is there an actual in-comic source for it, or was this just wild surmise on our part? Because given that we have garrison warlords and garrison infantry, in the absence of other information my stance on this would be that any unit can be popped with the garrison special at the ruler's option. Certainly, my current impression is not that some major, fundamental unit types are garrison by default and demand that their side pay a tax in shmuckers to use them outside of their home city.

On the upkeep reduction for garrison units: We know that Parson has ~1000 base upkeep, which went up by 140 when he promoted himself to field unit. This implies that the garrison discount is not that substantial; 15% or so. Definitely not something that a cost-conscious side would pass up, but hardly enough that a side can afford to pump out huge garrisons for cities that aren't in imminent danger of being attacked.

As far as cost for upgrading units from garrison goes, my guess would be that the cost would be fairly minor- certainly no more than a turn's upkeep for the unit. But that's based on my own instincts more than anything else; I don't know anywhere in the comic that it directly references costs to upgrade from garrison to field unit (although we do have a citation on costs to promote to heavy; ~18,000 for all the hobgobwins in the Jetstone airspace when Parson pulls his trick.

Kaed wrote:We could actually alter this right now - none of you have started wholesale infantry production yet, and it would just mean adding or subtracting a few of them.

Or we can wait till next game. Up to you guys.
I would support, if not completely flattening the pop rates, at least scaling them back so that cities are never popping three or four stacks at a time. That's excessive, particularly considering that our infantry are basically overpowered statistics-wise compared to the comic. There's not a huge amount of reason to pop non-infantry units at the moment unless you really, really need their specials/leadership or are concerned about upkeep. Infantry swarms are just too good and too easy to come by.

Kaed wrote:On the same note - cities. I'm going to have to agree on the analysis metric concept. I think that perhaps a ruler needs to buy individual aspects and then their cities are reclassified based on what is there.
Kaed wrote:Rulers need to pay to build certain aspects in their city, which are designed as they wish. Instead of a point based allotment system (beyond the beginning), they pay for each aspect as they wish, and when they reach a certain point their city levels up.
Kaed wrote:It occurs to me that there should be a flat cost to upgrade the city, something reasonable like 2500, so that random tiny modifications are discouraged - people should be saving up for large modifications, not increasing the wall strength by 2% a turn, that would be silly.

Levelling up cities is based both on reaching on a certain amount of upgrades and having some or all (depending on the level in question) aspects of the city to a minimum level of development.

There is a global cap to upgrades in a city. Once you reach it you cannot upgrade anything else. This is what creates unique situations like Transilvito's capital - it has failed to meet the wall requirements for level 5, but that's fine because the money went to something more useful, absolutely deadly air defenses.
Most of this seems reasonable. I'm not crazy about the specific prices involved, but the principles seem sound enough and the general idea of "you can throw your shmuckers into upgrading any feature of the city you want" appeals to me. The base cost, particularly if it's substantial, would explain why cities are commonly not upgraded- and if it's partially based on the level of the city's development already, perhaps would explain why cities rarely reach high level.

Actually, thinking on it- do we actually have any evidence that higher level cities provide more shmuckers? Maybe city shmucker incomes are static. If unit pop times are largely static, and literally the only thing that leveling a city does for you is more defensive bonuses and the ability to pop new units (and even that becomes irrelevant after level 3), we might actually have a solid reason that so many cities seem to sit around as dumpy level 2's indefinitely- upgrading is expensive and will never pay for itself, so why would you do it at all? A slightly higher wall isn't going to do much for you.

0beron wrote:I'm really not sure this makes sense honestly, because the only time where a single part of the city was enhanced separately was when a Dirtamancy scroll was involved. All other cities were upgraded wholesale it seems, and their variation can already be accounted for under our current system. Remember that in our system Capital Sites can totally sacrifice an entire zone to allocate the points elsewhere. This explains Transylvito, Spacerock, and FAQ.
To the best of my knowledge, the only cities that we've actually seen upgraded on-screen are Gobwin Knob and Goodminton. All other cities were upgraded offscreen, so their method of upgrade remains unknown. And even when upgrading Gobwin Knob, which went to five in one shot, there's mention of needing to focus on its structure and design- which can be taken as defining its flavor and structure stats like in our current system, or could be taken as defining the entire city block by block in a more modular system based on upgrading its parts individually. I've never really liked the "capitals are special and everywhere else is generic and boring" ruleset.

Side note, the fact that Gobwin Knob still has its portal at level 0/1 implies that our restrictions on when capital portals appear are inaccurate at best. Given that anyone in their right mind would want access to the Magic Kingdom, it might even be something that should just be in all capitals automatically.

0beron wrote:However that does cause me to call into question GK City's status as a "hypothetical level 8". If these city levels really are a factor of the upgrades purchased and the city's defendability, why wouldn't GK be an *actual* Lvl 8?
This could be explained fairly simply by terrain-based defensive bonuses or other factors not rooted in the city. To wildly conjure up some numbers here, if a city whose walls have a defense bonus of +8 would have to normally be a level 8, and Gobwin Knob is +5 due to walls and +3 more due to bonuses, then you get a level eight equivalent without getting into a situation where every mountain city is considered high-level even if it's nothing more than a shack on a cliff.

Safaquel wrote:But there's an awful lot of micro-management and spreadsheets involved, to be honest. As if you just describe all things in numbers, and these numbers cannot be ignored.
Numbers are a core part of Erfworld; it's basically impossible to ignore them. It's a foolish warlord who doesn't know his units' stats. That said, I have yet to have a budget I couldn't do over the course of fifteen minutes or less.
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby 0beron » Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:29 am

Exate wrote:Side note, the fact that Gobwin Knob still has its portal at level 0/1 implies that our restrictions on when capital portals appear are inaccurate at best. Given that anyone in their right mind would want access to the Magic Kingdom, it might even be something that should just be in all capitals automatically.

That's a good point, one I was thinking of recently. I think it's still appropriate that the city only have one if the side has Casters, but yeah maybe it should be an automatic.
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Re: Erfgame 3 (closed) - Rules and Discussion

Postby Kaed » Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:30 am

Yeah you guys, I guess portals can be sort of automatic, but you still need to have a caster, and you may still need to remodel your city to include a portal room. Once you have one, it stays.

The interesting thing is, I'm pretty sure portals are self contained entities. They don't actually need to be set in anything, and in portal park they just sort of float around in the air like so many pretty windows.

Thus perhaps they are in their own way a sort of magic item... maybe even a special kind of unit, since you may only have one of them.

I'm not even sure there are rules on where to place them, only conventions. What if a side wanted to have their portal floating just off the tower balcony, or behind a curtain next to the throne?

Or over a pit of spikes, so that people who do not call in before entering have a grisly demise?
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