ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:49 am 
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Graphical God

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Lubaf wrote:
The Watchers themselves are somewhat unclear on their origins. They were awakened from The Long Great Sleep in a large chamber (their starting city), with no memories of what they were or how they got there. From what they can tell, the Spellblaze did something to disrupt the usual methods the Watchers would use when in The Great Sleep to store memories during that time.

This is also a possible approach, but personally I'm not a great fan of the amnesia RPG trope - if played out well, it can be nice (or even great - PS:T, I'm looking at you) for a single protagonist, but for a whole race? You know what the usual reactions to such narrative contraptions are - these guys were much too lazy to devise something with at least some coherence. And I believe genetic memory is not that easily lost as the individual one :). Then again, if all this starts moving towards the biotech idea and they are actually products, then the memory storage failure starts looking quite plausible. Nevertheless, if such a course is taken, I would like to find some resolution on the origins and goals of the Watchers in the course of the game.

Lubaf wrote:
If they have a unique Initial Quest, said quest involves establishing diplomatic relations with the Allied Lands (and is mandatory for them, like the Dwarf Initial Quest). Alternately, they could share Initial Quests with one of the Elves.

If a non-specific T1 questline has to be chosen, I would prefer starting in Trollmire - the elven starting quest are too race-specific to impose them on the Watchers.
And thanks to you for chiming in, Luc "Lorewise" French!

Planetus wrote:
I'm thinking if we take that ex-Sher'Tul path, the main quest can be absorbed into theirs with a little lore and reasoning. Early on, they seek peace with the natives and explore a range of myths of ancient powers. They find the Fortress and take it as a great home for them as they recognize it as the leftovers of the Sher'Tul and hope to find some clues in it. They left the Sher'Tul before the Sher'Tul reached the kind of power found in the Staff of Power and so don't understand it even a little, but see it as a clue to the fate of the Sher'Tul. If the staff is stolen, that takes on it's own course. If the staff is saved, they trade it to the King for peace, information on a stable Farportal (the Farportal in the Fortress is very unstable and hopeless for anything more than chaos), and the potential to find people who not only know the power of the Staff (since they're after it), but also are able to construct stable Farportals (a technology they remember in legend but have lost in knowledge). Ultimately they choose to preserve the world rather than hand it over to a god they don't know how to slay, though whether this is for the good of the people or simply so they can conquer and colonize it is up to the player.

Really, really nice reasoning here :).

Waladil wrote:
Traveller superrace.
Could be, but the sum of two verbal nouns one after another feels cumbersome to me - "Travellers ->Watchers"
The Outworlder is gathering the most 'votes' and I also quite like it myself.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:26 pm 
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Higher

Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 12:00 am
Posts: 50
rexorcorum wrote:
Lubaf wrote:
The Watchers themselves are somewhat unclear on their origins. They were awakened from The Long Great Sleep in a large chamber (their starting city), with no memories of what they were or how they got there. From what they can tell, the Spellblaze did something to disrupt the usual methods the Watchers would use when in The Great Sleep to store memories during that time.

This is also a possible approach, but personally I'm not a great fan of the amnesia RPG trope - if played out well, it can be nice (or even great - PS:T, I'm looking at you) for a single protagonist, but for a whole race? You know what the usual reactions to such narrative contraptions are - these guys were much too lazy to devise something with at least some coherence. And I believe genetic memory is not that easily lost as the individual one :). Then again, if all this starts moving towards the biotech idea and they are actually products, then the memory storage failure starts looking quite plausible. Nevertheless, if such a course is taken, I would like to find some resolution on the origins and goals of the Watchers in the course of the game.


Fair enough. My follow-on suggestion is that, instead of the Spellblaze being the culprit, the Sher'tul destroyed the main memory storage mechanism as the cause of the memory wipe. Which leaves a bunch of open questions, yes, but a Watcher player could ask the Fortress Butler, who could claim ignorance, but theorize that "Assuming your race was not made by them, perhaps the Masters intended to control your race once it woke up."

As a side note, from a sufficiently transhumanist perspective, the distinction between "sapient biotech products" and "controller species" can get awfully thin.

As to starting quests: If you give them Thalore starting quests, you only need proximity to the Thalore city, as both Thalore quests are more about "trouble is coming from this dungeon" then anything tied into their origins.

Thanks
Luc "Followup" French


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:29 pm 
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Archmage

Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:44 pm
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Starting them near the Thalore town could be driven by peace with the Thalore. Starting them near the Shalore town could be driven first by exploring the Spellblaze effects (which perhaps gained their attention) and then peace with the Shalore (direct, given the nature of the second dungeon). Starting them in either the Far East or Derth doesn't seem like it makes much sense to me. Starting them near the Yeek town could be driven by peace with the Yeeks (seems kind of iffy to me). Starting in either a Point Zero-themed dungeon or an Orbital Cemetery-themed dungeon could be driven by an interception theme, and then teleport them into the middle of a random tier1 dungeon, like the Far East starter quest does. I think I actually like this one the best as it makes the most sense for any origin from any 'outside'.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:47 pm 
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Wyrmic

Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:01 am
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As a quick note, I moved the Beholders'™ starting experience to the Scintillating Caves for two reasons:

  1. To give players a chance to DEVOUR SPELLCASTERS using the improved Draining Gaze (no use for an antimagic eye makes a beholder into a very sad floaty little ball indeed.)
  2. An idea from FearCatalyst that the beholder's intelligences had detected a heavy concentration of magical energy in the area and so the failing ship was directed to crash-land somewhere nearby.

The latter doesn't really make sense though, especially if you consider crash-landing somehow underground. It was pretty much a stop-gap until the official Beholder Starting Zone is produced.

edit: Carry on! :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 7:48 pm 
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Graphical God

Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:05 am
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I for one (see the OP) am all for the interception scenario, cause it's nice to have different points of view and to mess with the player's head :mrgreen:. After that Scintillating caves do make sense (apart from the landing in a cave, well, technically you can do that through the roof, of course), I admit and back off from Trollmire.

Thanks for the nice suggestions and ideas, all of you. Cheers!

[EDIT]The missing psion and chrono castes visuals have been added to the OP :) [/EDIT].

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:10 am 
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Archmage

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I'm still rooting for the random tier1 dungeon after interception. It makes sense whether you're ariving from space or teleporting or whatever, and there's currently only one origin that does that (Celestials) and I find it adds a LOT to the play favor. It would also strongly reinforce the idea that you're trapped here unless you can find some way back.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 3:24 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:14 am
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Planetus wrote:
I'm still rooting for the random tier1 dungeon after interception. It makes sense whether you're ariving from space or teleporting or whatever, and there's currently only one origin that does that (Celestials) and I find it adds a LOT to the play favor. It would also strongly reinforce the idea that you're trapped here unless you can find some way back.


Would random with weight not be worth it, then? Have it more likely to generate Scintillating Caves, Heart of the Gloom, or other "unnatural/magic/EVIL" places?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:18 pm 
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Graphical God

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Hum. If we want random, that it should be random and not weighted or so I think? The thing I dread with the Celestials start is an escort, waiting cluelessly in the midst of some angry monster mobs. Cause I hate loosing escorts, I'll admit, and the chances for survival are very, very small. Which of course "adds a LOT to the play favor", I'll admit that too :).

Ok, I'm backing off the fixed Trollmire start for sure and will think a bit more on the other options:

  • Scintillating Caves, cause Spellblaze;
  • random T1, cause Lost;
  • random T1 with different weights, cause Spellblaze and Lost

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:24 pm 
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Wyrmic

Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:01 am
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Hey, rex, Planetus, The Revanchist, all the rest, I just had this crazy idea.

How about the Beholder crash-lands in a random starting zone, but rather than just being the regular starting zone, you get a special Beholder variant of that zone - imagine, say, a zone where alien lifeforms contained on-ship have been let loose into the surrounding ecosystem, and the Beholder's starting quest is its attempt to rid Maj'Eyal of its unfortunate handiwork.

Sorry, I can't help calling them Beholders™... Despite our progress, there's nothing in game as yet, and I still find myself creating and debugging Beholder characters every night!

If you do something jazzy like this, though, you might really need that preceding Watcher (that's better) introductory zone so that the starting zone can't be savescummed (or is harder to savescum). Really though, it shouldn't be much of an issue, and if savescummers wanted to ruin their own fun by reliving the same start conditions over and over again then they should be free to.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:57 pm 
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Sounds nifty :)

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:38 am 
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Thalore

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WRT to the amnesia trope, I think it could be workable if you don't try to play it entirely straight. I really like the idea that they were Sher'tul beureaucrats in some way since this is moderately comical and while the race comes from the Great Unknown in some way it can't be OP for gameplay purposes.

Perhaps they were never asleep, but their society dissappeared quite mysteriously ages ago, probably connected with the fate of the Sher'tul since their race was so closely connected. The existing population grew from encysted eggs/spores in the Birthing chamber after the jolt of cosmic energy released by the Spellblaze. It's not clear if this was accidental or intentional. They've been building their society since then, and this has been helped and hindered by a few things. First, the pocket of the Outworld in which they were born has been in 'ruins' (of the sort you might expect for a biotech-heavy society) for some time; things are 'malfunctioning', other things are poorly understood, and they don't know how to bootstrap their infrastructure with the sort of energy needed to Make Things Work. They still know a whole lot about the world, but it's patchy because their records were sensititive and have been ravaged by the mutations of time, and their cultural memory has been basically obliterated.

They are a constructed race, though, and they do have a degree of memory embedded in them by biological 'instinct'. If you had the Sher'tul biotech needed to construct a race using extremely advanced biotechnology, you had the means to make the process of growing new clerks as efficient as possible and ethically tasteful. While Watchers are intelligent and social, and adapt in many ways once their intelligence is sufficiently developed, they have been bred so that their base of propositional knowledge is roughly like that of a 5-year-old in human societies but without any learning required to get it. This explains some of their special motivations about Watching, and in particular their desire to find out what happened in Eyal, where the Sher'tul once were at a glorious height. Basically, Watchers are 'born' with the idea that Sher'tul are 'around' in the department/society and that they have roles to fulfill and a deep motivation to serve. But every Watcher these days is 'born' into a situation where they eventually realize that the Sher'tul are not there anymore. This is a bit of a devastating phase to them, and is known as the Great Sadness (sometimes the Great Mystery). They want to know what happened to the Sher'tul, why they can't serve, and what new purpose may be appropriate for them if indeed they can never serve the Sher'tul again.

Quests could easily be in the native 'pocket' dimension or facility-under-the sea. The older Watchers send you to repair a malfunctioning 'machine' outside HQ because it's starting to pose a real hazard. Then, you've proven yourself worthy to Go Beyond and Watch for the hive. You go on the second quest, a long journey through the Great Grgggling Tube to Maj'Eyal (with associated internal fauna also spilling out into M'E along with you) and after a bit of fighting you are free to roam.

Also, halfling ruins quest: you eat and/or mentally violate the yeek to get your reward ;)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:55 am 
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Sher'Tul Godslayer

Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:46 pm
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Location: Ambush!
parcel wrote:
WRT to the amnesia trope, I think it could be workable if you don't try to play it entirely straight. I really like the idea that they were Sher'tul beureaucrats in some way since this is moderately comical and while the race comes from the Great Unknown in some way it can't be OP for gameplay purposes.
Heh, this reminds me of something...

Douglas Adams wrote:
"Yes, so anyway," he resumed, "the idea was that into the first ship, the 'A' ship, would go all the brilliant leaders, the scientists, the great artists, you know, all the achievers; and into the third, or 'C' ship, would go all the people who did the actual work, who made things and did things, and then into the `B' ship - that's us - would go everyone else, the middlemen you see."

He smiled happily at them.

"And we were sent off first," he concluded, and hummed a little bathing tune.
No longer "Beholders", for they have left the hold. Now they shall come to be known as B'Arkians.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:02 am 
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Thalore

Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:03 am
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Doctornull wrote:
No longer "Beholders", for they have left the hold. Now they shall come to be known as B'Arkians.


Or the Sher'drool ;)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:06 am 
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Sher'Tul Godslayer

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parcel wrote:
Or the Sher'drool ;)

Sharing drool == kissing :oops:

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:08 am 
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Thalore

Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:03 am
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Doctornull wrote:
parcel wrote:
Or the Sher'drool ;)

Sharing drool == kissing :oops:


An embarassing situation for a visitor to learn about hewmann norms, indeed.


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