Bouncing around an idea for another game

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Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby MarbitChow » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:28 am

First off, I want to apologize to all the Darkness Rising players. I've come to the conclusion that I won't be running that game again. First, the complexity of the game grew beyond what I could reasonably handle easily. More importantly, a few players were dominating the game while others passively watched. The complexity I could manage through effort and automation, but the 2nd issue - player involvement & thus investment - sapped the majority of enthusiasm I needed to keep it going. That's not the fault of any of the players involved - it's entirely the fault of the rules & structure of the game itself. Role-playing, in my mind, should be available to all, but not required of anyone, and all players should be able to contribute equally.

That said, I'm starting to get the urge to run another game - an entirely new game, in the style of LTDave's Marbit Island series. (Yes, once again, I freely admit to copying LTDave's ideas, but in my defense, he's run so many types of games that would be almost impossible not to - he's a font of creativity.) I also want to borrow from BLAND's Disciples of Erfworld a bit - I really liked the simple class trees. And, as a fan of Dwarf Fortress and other construction/ survival games, I want to include aspects of that as well. (Yes, I know - it already sounds quite complicated. Bear with me. :D )

The basic idea (for those unfamiliar and/or too lazy to look up the Marbit Island posts) is that you start in a zone, and must explore the environment. Each zone is triangular, and has one or more grids (typically 1 to 3 4x4 grids). Zones are thus bordered by between 1 and 3 other zones. Each grid, if it isn't empty, has a basic resource on it - plants for eating, creatures for hunting, wood for chopping, stone for mining, etc. Players (who have the appropriate skill) will be able to build structures on grids as well; either by using an empty grid, or by clearing space on a resource grid. Each player will automatically eat if food is available, and can then spend 4 actions each turn. (I'll probably roll for initiative to see who goes first, if order matters, so that it doesn't matter who posts first.) Each player must end their turn on an empty space on one of the grids, usually determined by what the player made or harvested that turn.

Fog of war applies - you don't know what's in a zone unless you've got eyes on it. Towers and farseeing will let you view neighboring zones, and the benefits of towers and farseeing stack.

Each player can select 2 skill trees from the following list. Each tree (except Specialist - see below) unlocks 2 upgrades, of which the player can select one. With the exception of Specialist, you can chose any combination from the list - warrior/mystic for a battle-cleric, scout/stonemason for sneaky demolitionist, etc. You cannot, however, choose the same skill tree twice. (Specialist does sort of let you do this for civilian trees, though.)

Here's the skill trees I've got so far:

-----

Martial Trees
Warrior : Melee type that gets bonuses to offense and defense, and can wear metal armor without penalty; unlocks Dervish (2-weapon style) or Soldier (shield / bodyguard style) trees
Mystic : Wizardly type that can calm, stun, and shoot bolts; unlocks Enlightened (healer) or Sorcerer (dark magic) trees
Hunter : Analyze enemy, avoid melee attacks; unlocks Archer (multiple ranged attacks) or Crossbowman (heavy ranged attacks) trees
Scout : Can forage, hide, gain additional action; unlocks Ninja (poison/backstab) or Farstrider (farseeing/teleport) trees

Civilian Trees
Farmer : Better at gathering food & tending plants, and can plant crops; unlocks Chef (crafting meals) or Brewer (crafting brews)
Miner : Better at gathering stone, and can gather Ore and Gems; unlocks Stonecaller (create new stone nodes) or Gemweaver (craft jewelry and gemstaves)
Metallurgist : Create iron / steel bars needed for metal items; unlocks Weaponsmith (craft metal weapons) or Armorer (craft metal armor)
Stonemason : Create structures (workshops, furnaces, forges); unlocks Architect (advanced structures) or Demolitionist (grenades and siege weapons)
Forester: Better at gathering wood, crafts wood items and plants trees; unlocks Herbalist (build plant-based structures) or Shepherd (tend / train animals)
Leatherworker : Can gather and craft leather items; unlocks Skinrider (disguise and defense) or Bonecrafter (bone items/ armor/ golems)
Specialist : Must be paired with another Civilian Tree. When that tree levels, Specialist levels as well. Gains additional actions, and allows player to take both upgrade trees for that civilian tree. Example: Farmer/Specialist can take both Chef and Brewer when they become available.

-----

A few additional notes:

Players don't gain experience. In order to advance in your skill tree, you'll need to meet the requirements. For martial trees, this might be training and / or killing. For civilian trees, you'll probably just need to practice your craft.

Items that you make are yours as long as you are in the same region as they are, and other players cannot take them without your permission. This includes food that you harvest. (Food that comes from killing a creature belongs to every player that aided in killing the it.) If you leave an item in a zone, it becomes fair game.

Crossing a zone requires 2 actions. Unless you have the appropriate skill, gathering food requires 3 actions, wood takes 4, stone takes 8, and leather, ore and gems cannot be harvested at all.

New players will be able to join at any time, but will start at the base of their skill trees, as will players who die. The 'spawn point' is your home base, and players can only spawn if you control that zone. If you don't control that zone, and all players die, the game ends. The game will also have a victory condition, but that will not be revealed at the start.

Character Equipment Slots: Head, Torso, Legs, R. Hand, L. Hand, Ring, Necklace
Character Stats: Offense, Defense, Hits, Actions

Unlike Darkness Rising, the exact mechanics of combat will not be published. I intend to make combat more lethal.

-----

Keep in mind that some skill sets might not be optimal - they could leave you with nothing to do earlier or later in the game (such as Metallurgist / Specialist - once everyone has weapons and armor, this skill tree combo doesn't have much left to do, and if you don't have miners feeding you lots of ore, you'll have a lot of wasted actions). Others might be optimal but boring - a specialist Farmer / Chef / Brewer might be really handy, but ends up doing the same thing every turn.

Post here if you're interested, and let me know if you've got any additional questions.
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby WhirdCheese » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:19 am

Interested as a Leatherworker/Farmer going into Chef/ Whatever I feel like at the time.
Last edited by WhirdCheese on Thu May 02, 2013 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby Werebiscuit » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:37 am

Always ready to show an interest ;)
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby 0beron » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:21 am

Might play depending on how popular this gets. Either go Sorcerer/Farstrider or Sorcerer/Archer.
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby Swodaems » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:58 am

When you say that a class is better at gathering a type of material, how much better do you mean?

I'm thinking of going miner/stonemason and trying to take care of putting together most of our buildings.
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby MarbitChow » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:35 am

Swodaems wrote:When you say that a class is better at gathering a type of material, how much better do you mean?
I'm thinking of going miner/stonemason and trying to take care of putting together most of our buildings.

Meaning that, in general, that class will be at least twice as effective to begin with (and most likely increasing with level), and will be able to gather some resources that cannot be gathered without the skill (ore, gems, etc.). I haven't pinned down the exact details yet, but gathering resources won't be random - you'll get the resource after X actions are spent, but X may high enough that it normally requires spending actions over several turns.
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby LTDave » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:35 pm

As the resident font of creativity (thanks, BTW), I am always happy to play games!

Seems complicated, though.

Good work MarbitChow.
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby ETheBoyce » Wed May 01, 2013 8:52 am

You have my interest!
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby MarbitChow » Wed May 01, 2013 11:40 am

So, potential player list so far:

WhirdCheese : Mystic / Farmer
Werebiscuit : (none selected)
0beron : Mystic / Hunter or Mystic / Scout
Swodaems : Miner / Stonemason
LTDave : (none selected)
ETheBoyce : (none selected)

-----

To delve into game design theory a bit, what I'm trying to set up this time is a game environment that's a bit more of a sandbox, and set things up so that every basic action (eating, gathering, fighting, building) can be done by every player, but some players are more efficient, and advanced structures and items must be unlocked by both skills and resources. Unlocking skills will probably require a combination of actions and structures, and unlocking structures will require certain skills.

For example, not eating causes damage. Eating restores health. Using a heal spell also restores health (which means that an Enlightened can actually survive without food if they want to spend the actions), so while a healer might be the most efficient way of restoring health, a good chef will also work, and just sitting and eating will eventually work as well.

Items in the game can be requirements, and also make tasks quicker. You'll be able to perform basic building and gathering tasks without any items, but it will take longer.

Finally, I want to keep things to "sets of 3". Skills have 3 levels. Many structures will also be upgradable, and thus have 3 levels as well. Additional levels will require additional squares, so a basic stonecrafting workshop is a 2x2 structure, while a journeyman structure is 3x3 and master structure is 4x4.

Finally, the Food Storage and Warehouse structures have some special functions. Each will be able to store a maximum amount of resources (say, 20 food items for storage / 10 of any combo of stone and wood in the warehouse at level 1). These items go into a 'communal storage space', which means that if you've got 3 warehouses in 3 zones, you can store 30 resources, and anyone in any zone that has a warehouse can access all 30 resources. Similarly, anyone with a backpack can reach in and access any food item or brew stored in food storage. I'll probably require the Food Storage to be level 3 to enable this ability, however, so you won't get it right off the bat.

So, there may be a decent amount of complexity in the design, but player decision-making should be (hopefully) fairly simple - spend 4 (or more) actions gathering, building, exploring, etc. and get bonuses from items along the way.

Suggestions for additional structures and items will be considered, but since this isn't Earth (or even Erfworld), the number of things you'll be able to do and create will be fairly limited.
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby ETheBoyce » Wed May 01, 2013 12:21 pm

Since we seem to be lacking in combat ability I'll go Warrior (Dervish)/Scout (Ninja)
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby MarbitChow » Wed May 01, 2013 12:51 pm

WhirdCheese : Mystic / Farmer
Werebiscuit : (none selected)
0beron : Mystic / Hunter or Mystic / Scout
Swodaems : Miner / Stonemason
LTDave : (none selected)
ETheBoyce : Warrior / Scout

Note that you don't have to decide which skill to choose until it's unlocked.
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby LTDave » Wed May 01, 2013 3:35 pm

I'll be "Eric" the Hunter / Forester.
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby WhirdCheese » Wed May 01, 2013 6:24 pm

Changing to farmer/leatherworker. Bone Golems shall be mine!!!!

But that's more of a long term goal.
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby Werebiscuit » Thu May 02, 2013 5:02 am

Ok since we're claiming slots .... probably Scout/Forester or Hunter/Forester...with maybe leatherworker in there if someone else shows an interest in Forester. Just to spread the skills, if we're playing co-operatively.

EDIT Ah blast...hadn't seen that Whird claimed Leatherworker...oh well, just the original two then. Depending on other picks
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby Werebiscuit » Thu May 02, 2013 5:06 am

OH jeez. Hadn't seen LTDave's pick either...I really should read more carefully.

Ok Scout/Miner or Scout /Stonemason... that sneak in and demolish looks tantalizing
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby MarbitChow » Thu May 02, 2013 2:13 pm

Updated Roster (w/ starting skills):

Complete:
WhirdCheese : "George" the Leatherworker / Farmer [Gather Leather, Gather Food]
0beron : "Arthemy" the Mystic / Scout [Calm, Forage]
LTDave : "Eric" the Hunter / Forester [+1 Off/+1 Def, Gather Wood]

Unnamed:
Swodaems : Miner / Stonemason (unnamed) [Gather Stone Block, Craft Workshop]
ETheBoyce : Warrior / Scout (unnamed) [+2 Off/+2 Def, Forage]

Unfinished:
Werebiscuit : Scout/Miner or Scout /Stonemason (unnamed - please determine final skill set)) [Forage, ???]

(edit: updated WhirdCheese, 0beron)
Last edited by MarbitChow on Thu May 02, 2013 4:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby WhirdCheese » Thu May 02, 2013 3:11 pm

I'll be George the Leatherworker/Farmer. Going into Bonecrafter/Chef
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby 0beron » Thu May 02, 2013 3:52 pm

Arthemy the Mystic/Scout
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby ETheBoyce » Thu May 02, 2013 5:29 pm

Slaughtering our enemies and gathering stuff from their dismembered corpses it's Texas the Warrior/Scout
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Re: Bouncing around an idea for another game

Postby MarbitChow » Thu May 02, 2013 5:47 pm

Updated Roster (w/ starting skills and unlocked structures):

Complete:
WhirdCheese : "George" the Leatherworker / Farmer [Craft Leather, Gather Food] (Note: changed Gather Leather to Craft Leather)
  • Leatherworker unlocks Tannery
  • Farmer unlocks Granary
0beron : "Arthemy" the Mystic / Scout [Calm, Forage]
  • Mystic unlocks Shrine
  • Scout unlocks Watchtower
LTDave : "Eric" the Hunter / Forester [+1 Off/+1 Def, Gather Wood]
  • Hunter unlocks Target Range
  • Forester unlocks Lumbermill
ETheBoyce : "Texas" the Warrior / Scout (unnamed) [+2 Off/+2 Def, Forage]
  • Warrior unlocks Training Dummy
  • Scout unlocks Watchtower

Unnamed:
Swodaems : Miner / Stonemason (unnamed) [Gather Stone Block, Craft Workshop]
  • Miner unlocks Quarry
  • Stonemason unlocks Mason Workshop
Unfinished:
Werebiscuit : Scout/Miner or Scout /Stonemason (unnamed - please determine final skill set)) [Forage, ???]

Note to any lurkers: new players are welcome, both now and after the game begins.
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