Ted's RPG Rant

A place to rant about RPG games, particularly the Temple of Elemental Evil. Co8 members get a free cookie for stopping by. Thats ONE cookie each, no seconds.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

KotB Philosophy

Here's a brief rant about the 'philosophy', or some of the ideas anyway, I am bringing to KotB. I call it a rant because it is not some carefully thought out mission statement, just a brainspew 8^D I might also add these are just my ideas, and while I am running the show at the moment, when the starter-pack is re-released (tentative date, Dec 1) people will be free to add new quests / characters / whatever and can implement THEIR ideas on how the game should go. This should not be a problem - if some quests rely heavily on skills, others on cunning puzzle-solving, others on difficult choices etc - ie if there are vastly different ways to play different portions of the game - well, GOOD! The more input, and the more variety, the better. No-one likes games where every puzzle is the same (well I think they get old quickly). And of course Edwin's plots will be (and are) a massive influence also. But anyways, here's my take on it all.

Firstly, regarding NPCs. Allyx asked about NPC advancement, having them level-up automatically. I would like to see that - indeed I would like to see NPCs OUT of the players control as much as possible. Thats because I think we can do things more senibly than in ToEE. Being made by players, the NPCs will be made to PLAY well, with sensible feats etc, not just there to show off the full capabilities of the engine etc (note as someone said the other day, Kalshane or Gwythur probably, that there are occurences of skills like Swim and Jump in the protos.tab, that don't even occur in the game. Ditto I noticed on the front page of the ToEE official site at Atari, they are still talking about using Disguise and Alchemy. We won't have that sort of stuff, we'll have things you WANT your NPCs to do). Also they will lvl-up sensibly, not just suddenly change classes bizarrely or pick new silly feats. Hence, people won't MIND them doing things automatically, because they won't be doing it USELESSLY like they sometimes did before, they will just be doing it maybe differently to what you had them doing before.

Now... that being said, I understand that in time people will play them as humble NPCs ANYWAY, not matter how we do them (and one persons idea of sensible leveling up is another's idea of bizarre, what with roleplaying issues and combat issues etc. Eg I really like Spuggy having the starting feats that he does - Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot - because I tend to use him as fire support with spell and crossbow, and there is no way you're throwing him into melee: also, he gets bonus magic-related feats so he can still have Spell Penetration etc later. Orion, on the other hand, was famously offended by these choices because they were not magic-related, thinking he should have Spell Focus etc). Again, I ACCEPT that: if people want to change things later so they have the NPCs under their complete control - and they will, I realise that, its part of the appeal of replaying a game - well I don't mind. But I would still like to see them as autonomous as possible to start.

Next, regarding puzzles. You people are SOFT. You've been saturated with point-and-click CRPGs, where the answer is right in front of you and even if you don't find it, you just hit reload - not anymore.

Liv I am sure would cheer this: there will be puzzles, maybe not many, maybe not that complicated, but some for sure, where the answer is NOT right in front of you. Think the Paida situation, but withOUT the scroll of Dispel Magic lying right next to her so even a brain-damaged chimp could figure out what had to be done. Of course, you don't want to have to wander on up to the surface and rest or buy a scroll or whatever to do the deed, so think of it like this - imagine Paida standing there, apparently charmed, and if you don't have Dispel Magic in your inventory, the game will still be set up so that it is in the inventory of a monster two rooms over, probably among a bunch of other scrolls so it doesn't stand out.

Mainly, I want to find interesting puzzle-related uses for spells - thats easy to do with the engine, its built for it. In some cases this will involve adding a scroll of a unique spell: then, the situation should present itself later where that spell is the answer (if you don't have the scroll in your inventory, you hit a dead end :-)). Being a unique scroll - unscribable - it is something you should realise should be saved for a specific moment.

That being said, I would also like there to be more than one way to complete some quests. Evil characters should have, well, evil options open to them - Paladins should be able to do most stuff without falling (though there will be a lot of roleplaying stuff in the Caves that won't be open to non-evil parties, much like in the Temple in ToEE). Also in the cases of needing a specific spell, well, I would also like to see a cunning mundane way around it.

Eg (I'll show my hand a bit for readers of the blog) the party come to a cave-in (no not the one leading to the Cave of the Unknown, something else).

- magical way around: cast shatter on the rubble. (ok, NOT a unique scroll spell, just what u need to do here).

- non-magical way around - 'attack' it with (military) picks and dig your way through.

What if the party don't have shatter memorised? (Probably no earth elementals in the game, so why would they?) Well tough luck!

What if they don't have a pick (and who the hell uses those anyways?) Well, thats where we have the party encounter some skeletons armed with picks two rooms over - special picks that will trigger the effect (not so normal ones won't, but so other weapons etc won't).

Now, this is not a dreadfully difficult puzzle: you need to get through some rocks, you find a pick two rooms over. The point is simply you find the pick among some other looted weapons, and it is two rooms over, not lying at the base of the rubble with 'pick me' written on the handle. There is some modicum of thought process necessary.

Thirdly, the status: not a status update, but the direction things are going. For anyone who hasn't heard, atm the plan is to complete the Outer Bailey and some nearby wilderness encounters (the bandits, hermit and spiders - Lizardmen too maybe though haven't given them a lot of thought) then release that as a Demo. People can play and frolic and bug-test while the later parts of the game (the Caves - they're not 'later' parts, but you ain't getting them straight away! - and the Inner Bailey etc) are being done. The majority of the maps for the Demo have, at this point, been DONE! So once I have finished sectoring them and get them out, we can put in the characters, the quests, and start fine tuning. Still along way to go obviously, but (thanks mainly to Screeg's efforts) we've come a long way too.

So there's some stuff on whats going on. :-)


Post a Comment

<< Home