ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

[7DRL] Blood Arbiter
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Author:  yufra [ Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:07 pm ]
Post subject:  [7DRL] Blood Arbiter

The general setting will be low fantasy, similar to the early Greek empire. Three powerful families form an oligarchy that rules a city-state. This city-state values strength above all else, and in earlier times members of the families would duel to make a point. As the numbers of each family dwindled it was decided that any non-unanimous vote by the heads of the three families would be settled by gladiatorial combat. One of the "yes" votes selects a champion, as does one of the "no" votes, and the last family plays the role of judge at the end of combat. Men convicted of violent crimes would no longer be sentenced to death, but would enter the arena and seek redemption through combat. If a gladiator survived long enough he would be freed, given a position of power in an outer holding and named "Blood Arbiter". The player is a new gladiator, just arrived at the arena.

There will be two sides to the game, the combat side and the social side. Combat takes place in a hexagonal arena. The three families each have non-adjacent slices of the hexagon to themselves, and the remaining three pieces are filled with commoners. A set of six pillars will be near the center of the arena (a bit of LOS strategy) and just inside those pillars will be a raised platform that offers a height advantage (bonuses to attack/defense). You and your opponent will enter the arena under the side that you are representing, and both will be completely unarmed. There will be various items scattered about the arena which represents the first tactical decision you must make: do you prioritize getting weapons that you most skilled with, gaining the height advantage, or trying to engage in unarmed combat?

During the course of combat you can always surrender, or as you are injured you will have to make rolls to either stay conscious or even alive. If either combatant ever collapses the family that is sitting in judgement will instruct if the fallen combatant is to be executed (thumbs up) or spared (thumbs down). This is where the social side of the game enters. Each combatant will have a "favor" resource for each of the families. The higher this resource is the more likely a judgement will be favorable to you. You gain favor by winning a family victory, and lose it by either losing a particularly important fight or surrendering. You can also "spend" favor in order to gain training or information during the down time.

A final aspect of the social game is the individual favor of the various people involved in the arena. Anyone from guards to janitors can be bribed by fixing the match, little things from using a specific weapon to big things like surrendering after the third blow. These favors can result in them fixing the game in your favor, for example ensuring your favorite weapon is near to where you enter the arena.

Once you have amassed 10 (maybe more?) victories than surrenders you will have won and become a Blood Arbiter.

Still reading? The combat system will be based on one from a PnP RPG. There will be three base stats: Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution. The HP will be a secondary stat that is derived mainly from the STR stat.

I am planning on a basic Attack talent with a few more specialized talents (eg. Disarm). There will be a skill for each type of melee weapon that scale relative to the DEX stat. The specialized talents will scale relative to the current melee weapon skill.

Defensive options will be handled through sustains, so if you want to block with a shield then you will sustain the "Block" talent, etc.

Combat will be turn-based, but there will be a "Reflex Meter" that begins full and discharges after a few seconds. If you choose an action before the meter runs out that action will get some sort of bonus, for example a +1 modifier to an attack, or a speed bonus to a movement. The idea is to bring in the time pressure from a real-time game but still retain the tactical options of a turn-based game.

Author:  Canderel [ Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [7DRL] Blood Arbiter

Sounds amazing! Especially the social part!

Author:  darkgod [ Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [7DRL] Blood Arbiter

I love the reflex thingie :)

Author:  Grey [ Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [7DRL] Blood Arbiter

Bleh on the reflex meter, but the rest sounds cool. Social stuff might be fiddly to code though - if I were you I'd concentrate on the combat first and get it perfected. I like the idea of disarming an opponent, the weapon flying off east, and then running to grab it. And the enemy doing the same to you of course :D

You mention sustains for blocking. Does that use a resource?

Author:  yufra [ Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [7DRL] Blood Arbiter

Grey wrote:
Bleh on the reflex meter, but the rest sounds cool. Social stuff might be fiddly to code though - if I were you I'd concentrate on the combat first and get it perfected. I like the idea of disarming an opponent, the weapon flying off east, and then running to grab it. And the enemy doing the same to you of course :D

You mention sustains for blocking. Does that use a resource?

I hear where you are coming from on the reflex meter and chatted with Zonk at length about it on IRC. What I am trying to do with the reflex meter is to capture the advantage of quickly reacting in battle and balance it with the advantage of considering your next move. Getting the balance right may be impossible, and the feature may just fail entirely but it is a 7DRL and we are supposed to explore a bit, right?

I hadn't thought of a good way to handle a combat resource (other than health) but am open to suggestions. I think I am going to keep it fairly simple in the resource management department.

In regards to social, I think it is going to be fairly easy but I could be vastly under-estimating how long the rest of the code will take. I agree that the first thing will be to get combat in and working, and then get the rest going. The trickiest bit will be the individual favor/bribes. Glad to hear that you like the ideas, though. And thanks DG and Canderel!

Author:  Grey [ Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [7DRL] Blood Arbiter

For resources I suggest you have none, and instead have any sustain cause drawbacks, like lower attack power or slower speed. Make it easy to switch on and off and it'll present interesting choices in the midst of battle.

Author:  eliotn [ Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [7DRL] Blood Arbiter

1. The social part looks interesting if you can flesh it out. I like the bribing aspect, but you will have to balance the bribe amount with the effect gained (or maybe there is a disadvantage to bribing!). Favor looks interesting.
2. Realistically, height advantage makes things harder for both combatants (although in military strategy it may make sense). What would be cool is putting bows and arrows in the center and increasing movement cost to move through the center :).
3. Scattering items around the arena will only be interesting if there is some sort of time pressure, either through something like a food clock, time limit, or something else. You want to make a cost for going around and getting the items. I would have a penalty for stalling (they want blood!).
4. I don't like the idea of the reflex meter. I don't want to feel penalized for not button mashing or acting quickly if this isn't a real-time game.
5. Defense through sustains is good, but I would put a price on most of the sustains to make them interesting.

Other than that, I would suggest adding the combat system/arena generation/items in first, and then the other aspects if you have time. Good luck.

Author:  edge2054 [ Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [7DRL] Blood Arbiter

I felt the combat needed more feedback. Maybe it's intentionally designed this way (and maybe I'm just spoiled) but I didn't know if pressing parry more then once was what I should be doing, or if my parry was still active (or dodge or evaluate for instance). If these are timed effects then timed effect names someplace in the UI would be good. Personally I hate watching the combat log and would prefer to be able to glance someplace to know if my effects are working or not.

Weapons on the ground badly need tooltips, especially considering most of them I wasn't able to use. Also I wasn't able to attack at all without a weapon (which may be intentional) which is fine except that many times the only weapons I had the stat requirements for would spawn outside of the arena (I know because I cheat teleported out there to grab one on several occasions).

Debug res doesn't work (which is a minor issue) though it could be helpful in playtesting (I might fix this myself if no one else does since it's minor and has no effect on gameplay).

The gladiator NPC had 1250% hit points and never seemed to take damage. Maybe this was a bug or maybe it was because his hit points where set so high I never noticed them going down. I wasn't sure if this was for playtest reasons or not. Also different colored damage flyers could be a nice addition. One for when I take damage and one for when I deal damage. I saw a lot of red numbers flying off but without a life indicator it was hard to tell if that was my life or my enemies.

Author:  yufra [ Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [7DRL] Blood Arbiter

How about this edge?


Author:  Grey [ Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [7DRL] Blood Arbiter

Hmm, ASCII on Tiles is quite a cool look.

Author:  Canderel [ Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [7DRL] Blood Arbiter

I just can't hit...

I ran into some lua errors, but for me the real issue is, even after stacking 3 evaluates, I still miss the opponents. And they hit hard... 3 shots and I'm dead.

Author:  edge2054 [ Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [7DRL] Blood Arbiter

Train axe/maul or two-handed axe/maul and make sure to grab a weapon you're trained with.

Author:  Grey [ Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [7DRL] Blood Arbiter

How do I pick up a weapon? It's oddly not obvious.

Author:  Canderel [ Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [7DRL] Blood Arbiter

Use the "ready" talent when standing on it.

I have to admit took me a while too.

Though I would've put it as the first talent... and called it... pickup? or get?

Author:  yufra [ Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [7DRL] Blood Arbiter

Thanks Canderel. Grey, yeah it is quite a bit different from ToME and I tried a different type of tutorial through the trainer emotes. One of the first ones that you should see is "Stand on a weapon and 'Ready' it.", but I have heard from others that the emotes are a little too unobtrusive. I like the idea of using short emotes to teach the player various facets of the game rather than push them into a long, dialog heavy tutorial, but my 7DRL execution of this concept was poor. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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