Resting, Regenration, Death and Injury

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Resting, Regenration, Death and Injury

Postby youngneil1 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:59 pm

The old, mainly (A)D&D games, inspiring IceBlink, mostly had a resting mechanism in place, allowing to recover hitpoints as well as memorize fresh spells in a somewhat safe place (even in a dungeon or in the wilderness if the area was roughly safe enough). Random encounters could happen while resting though. Death in combat was possibe, but so was ressurection in a temple or by a mighty cleric in the party. Usually there were no permanently, non-healable crippling injuries (level drain perhaps? But I think even those could be cured). There were many negative states though, think poisoned, blind, diseased, turned to stone, madness(?)... but all could be ehaled by party spells or at laast in a temple. Hit points would not regenerate outside resting nor would spells come back.

I wonder how all of this will be handled in IceBlink?

First difference is due to use of spells and stamina points (which is great btw - I love both of these as flexible ressource for the tactic battles. I assume there will be no memorization of spells, but direct casting of everything using spell points?). Of course, also spell- and stamina points could regenerate only while resting still.

Some thoughts on what I like/dislike with the above described classical system:

- Ressurection: Story- and plotwise I don't like ressurection at all. Death should be final (or be cheated only under extremely special circumstances, coming with a high, gruesome price). It should be nothing that can be simply shopped for at a temple or be cast on regular basis by a party menmber. Assassinations, ilnesses and accidents, i.e. a lot of drama in the world, would become mostly meaningless for the rich and the mighty otherwise.

- Resting: I like the idea of a worn down party trying to make it to safety. I don't like having to back track all the time though. Also resting in unlikely spots or situations just for restings sake seems wrong. A conflict, it seems.

- Injury: I would not like to have of of my beloved characters permanently, non-healably crippeld by some unlucky strikes. I would like to have them battle scars telling the stories of their hard fights though. It would still be fascinating to actually have them maimed, blidned, crippled, etc. - but all of this should be healable, though at hefty prices and effort. Wudld be ncie if such criplling injuries upon healing even could have slight advantages - some kind of "battle worn" experience. Thinking: "Yes, it gets harder to play on with this injury - but I won't reload, cause in the end I will even slightly be rewarded for suffering through it (plus get a cool battle scar entry on my character's bio)."

- Regeneration: Spell points and stamina points are the pool for tactic options,. I would not like having to do many battles on very limited choices. As said I would liek to be slowly worn down though by many battles in a row, with the final need to actually better go looking for a safe spot to lick my wounds.

[My time is running out - so I will leave you with this mid-brainstorming. Feel free to add thoughts, I will do so myself later on]
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Re: Resting, Regenration, Death and Injury

Postby Lurking Grue » Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:29 pm

This is a biiig topic and a critical one with regards to what kind of games are possible to be made with IB. In addition to your combat system topic, which I haven't yet had time to comment (but will soon), these design decisions affect the entire game experience and should be carefully considered/designed.

youngneil1 wrote:First difference is due to use of spells and stamina points (which is great btw - I love both of these as flexible ressource for the tactic battles. I assume there will be no memorization of spells, but direct casting of everything using spell points?). Of course, also spell- and stamina points could regenerate only while resting still.


Yes, I like this approach a lot too, as I've never been a big fan of the Vancian magic system used in (A)D&D. Having a pool of Stamina Points to use on spells in what order and combination you like without any prior preparation is way better in my book. However, has there been any concrete info on the style of magic system Jeremy is going to implement, other than e.g. seeing Stamina/Spell Points mentioned?

The good thing about Stamina Points vs. Spell Points is that you can use them to fuel other actions too, not just spells. Actions like combat feats/manuevers (e.g. Mighty Blow causes +50% damage, but also costs X Stamina Points to use), special abilities/powers (crucial in a supers game), psionics (e.g. in a sci-fi game), and so on. And as a "mundane resource" (stamina is something everone has, spell points not so) it is something that can affect and be relevant to everyone, not just magic users. In addition it can be drained by mundane means, e.g. forced march, illness, and such.

youngneil1 wrote:- Ressurection: Story- and plotwise I don't like ressurection at all. Death should be final (or be cheated only under extremely special circumstances, coming with a high, gruesome price). It should be nothing that can be simply shopped for at a temple or be cast on regular basis by a party menmber. Assassinations, ilnesses and accidents, i.e. a lot of drama in the world, would become mostly meaningless for the rich and the mighty otherwise.

Indeed. In my PnP games, resurrection is as rare as it is in the Real World. I've never understood game worlds where resurrection is common and readily available. But... when we're talking about CRPGs, the matter is a bit different. These have often taken a more game-like approach to things, not caring so much for the believeability or internal cohesion of the game world. The resurrection isn't seen as this incredible miracle and world-shattering thing, but a convenience feature for the player, who spends so much time in combat, that an easy way to bring back fallen PCs is perhaps in order. I can understand this design decision, even if I don't like it. Likewise, I can understand having resurrection as an option in the IB engine. Let the module maker make the decision whether to include it in his module or not. (Sidenote: Consider the fact, that many modern CRPGs won't allow PCs to die at all, only to be knocked out, unless the entire party is downed. This is partly, because they don't want to tangle with the difficult issue of resurrection.)

Then there is, of course, the option to reload on PC death. This is what I prefer. I don't think I will utilize resurrection in my modules (he said boldly, as if he had already made scores of them ;)). Reason being, I will try to design the game worlds to have at least some internal reason and rhyme to them and resurrection doesn't figure into to those plans at all.


youngneil1 wrote:- Resting: I like the idea of a worn down party trying to make it to safety. I don't like having to back track all the time though. Also resting in unlikely spots or situations just for restings sake seems wrong. A conflict, it seems.


Resting needs to be something more than a button to insta-heal the party. It needs to have restrictions, either limiting resting to preset locations (like inns, pre-placed campfires, etc.) or at least disallowing its use in hostile areas. And I mean hostile areas as in hostile maps. There is no sense in the fact, that you can rest in an enemy fortress, still occupied by hostile forces, by just moving behind the corner, 5 meters from the next enemies down the corridor.

This is as much of a module design issue as a game engine issue, but the engine should not encourage designers to make dungeons/maps where it is expected that the party heals completely before each, next encounter. Thus, it would be great if the engine would allow for a comprehensive range of variables and tools to limit and customize resting. E.g. I for one would like to have resting also require food, i.e. attaching a cost in consumables to it (maybe you could rest without food, but recovery would only be at 50% or worse).

Urk, I need to go. Will finish this later.
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Re: Resting, Regenration, Death and Injury

Postby youngneil1 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:14 pm

Death, burying the fallen, refilling the party ranks, battle scars and battle worn skill:
I would also tend to a design where death of a character would be irreversible. Still it would not neccessarily mean gameover/re-load: actually I would integrate the possibility of playing with one char less with the option to hire a new fellow adventurer, that e.g. could be created then, in the next town to refill your ranks, perhaps a level lower than the one who has died). You might get the option to bury your fallen camerade on the towns graveyard for atmosphere's sake (imagine a special quest triggered later on by that as random encounter where a necromaccer has reanimated your former camerade as zombie, shudder :)). Maybe the death of a very pious charcters (making often donations in temples, questing for tehir god) could bring the party certain boons from the afterlife (think guardian angel). There could be indeed hidden rewards for palyers mustering the strength to play on despite the death of a party member.

But at the same time dying in combat would (at least with normal opponents, very special ones excluded) not happen in an instant. Instead, upon reaching 0 (or fewer hitpoint), the character would drop to unconscious and a death timer would start (imagine bleeding or whatever else is appropriate). If another character by medicine skill roll or other means manages to stabilize the dying character before the death timer runs out (e.g. within 10 combat rounds; note: when combat ends before that time, stabilization is rolled automatcallly at the end of combat with as many attempts as dying counter rounds remain), the character would regain consciousnous at the end of the combat. Otherwise he would be dead (see above for consequences).

Characters that dropped to zero or below would also gain a crippling injury (perhaps rolled on a table; critical hits in combat might have a chance of applying such injuries directly, too) with permanent stat reductions or other disadvanatges - these crippling injuries can be cured though (preferably not by party, but in town, some time (days/weeks) would also pass for the process of curing; som might require fidning certain herbs, crystal, a special healer, etc.).The healed injuries could be noted as battle scars in biography of the character. Also, the charcter woudl get ranks in the ability "battle worn" which would apply special skills to that charcter dealing aroudn survial, keeping nerves, being not impressed easily, commanding respect... "Battle worn" rank can onyl increase by acquiring battle scars.

Regeneration:
Considering regeneration I would automatically refill hitpoints and spellpoints/stamina to the level they were before the combat (which might have been reduced already), but decrese max. hp and max. spell points/stamina by a certain amount (e.g. 5 points, not dropping ever lower than 1, of course). With each combat the max. values for HP and spellpoints/stamina would therefore drop lower and lower. This woudl lead to players having to decide at which point they better start looking for a place to rest (successfully resting woudl restore the max. values - perhaps only partially if rest is not good, e.g. too cold, too wet, no food, too short due to interruption).

Resting places:
I agree with Grue that resting places should not be around the corner from the next monsters. If resting just means an extra click, it's pointless. The game could allow a bad quality rest in any place thoguh (with a warning), like droppign stone tired to the floor in a dungeon, but random encounter chances and random encounter strength should be rather discouraging then.
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Re: Resting, Regenration, Death and Injury

Postby youngneil1 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:37 pm

Refining "regneration" a liltte (edit timer ran out):

Regeneration:
Considering regeneration I would automatically refill hitpoints and spellpoints/stamina to the level they were before the combat (which might have been reduced already), but - after a certain number of combats - I would decrese max. hp and max. spell points/stamina by a certain small amount (e.g. 3 points/or some percentile amiount, tbd, not dropping ever lower than 1, of course) for each further combat. With each of these further combats the max. values for HP and spellpoints/stamina would therefore drop lower and lower. This would lead to players having to decide at which point they better start looking for a place to rest (successfully resting would restore the max. values - perhaps only partially if rest is not good, e.g. too cold, too wet, no food, too short due to interruption).

The idea is a slow, but irreversible wear down of the party. The first battles - before reaching the threshold of non-permanently exhausting combat rounds - would offer full tactical options. Then, slowly, options would become more and more limited and the party more and more vulnerable.

The automatic regeneration after each combat (to an ever decreasing max.) will avoid too much dpeendence on healers and long time resting: A part of the characters' reserves returns short term just naturally (and the player does not have to micromanage healing spells and skills repeatedly in the very same manner after each combat).

Healing spells and skills would be crucial in-combat though, of course.

This also would lead to a significant difference between two different combats (regeneration inbetween) on teh one hand and two consecutive spawn waves within the same combat (no regneration inbetween) on the other hand.
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Re: Resting, Regenration, Death and Injury

Postby Pongo » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:39 pm

Blimey, there's a gadzillion things to comment on here ;) . Not sure where to start, but here goes....!

Personally, I like a magic system that involves memorising spells rather than mana points etc. Tactically I think its brilliant cos you need to time use of your spells well - you can't just drink a mana potion and keep dropping fireballs. It also makes balancing a selection of combat / non-combat spells interesting. Ie, do you give up your magic missile for a light spell....?

Whilst we're on magic, I'm also a fan of systems where certain spells are hard to find. This makes loot for wizards exciting, especially when delving into long lost librarys in ancient ruins etc.... What new magic powers will you find?! I don't like bring able to simply choose new spells when levelling up, because it takes away the element of mystery and reward in finding them in loot. Some should be available through scrolls in shops etc (presuming the system is that you scribe them), but of course the game designer has some control over that.

Resurrection sucks, agreed. I never use it in games, its reload for me. I think in pnp ad&d it wasn't easy to get resurrected - I think there was a chance of failure? You definitely lost constitution / hit points if you were resurrected, which limited its use. I guess that would be one option here. I like the idea of wounds etc, but most should be healable somehow...
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Re: Resting, Regenration, Death and Injury

Postby youngneil1 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:32 pm

Hehe, yes frightening amount of details in such a game, the more one thinks of it ;-).

The classic spell system had two aspects to it (that also have their merrits):

1. Limited number of spells per level: This seemed always like some artificial restraint to me. It enforced using low level spells though, which probably makes spell balancing easier. In a system where one can cast any spell known, one could use all magic points for high level spells (depending on spell power/magic point cost ratio, this might make some spells useless later on if they don't bring unqiue advantages to the table). So I have to admit it also brings some advantage.

2. Deciding at the start of the day which spells to use later on: This gave less options to flexibly adapt to upcoming situations. One might argue it enforced more careful planning though. Still I woudl prefer the flexibility.

I am neither a fan of "Diablo style"quaffing potions in a row (be it healing or mana potions). I would avoid handing such out in large amounts. Rare mana potions though I would like as vauable extra boosts for dire times (there might be timers of combat rounds when the next potions of such a type would be usable again, preventing chain use).

I had forgotten about that constitution point lost and the failure chance, true. Especially the failure chance might be worth to consider if ressurrection would be the road to go . But it seems we all are not that fond of it so far :).

Scrolls - esepcially the rare ancient ones you describe - could still exist in a magic point system. I would like that, too. They coudl be either prerequiste for permanently knowing that spell or/and one tiem use items. Actually agree on all you said on scrolls.
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Re: Resting, Regenration, Death and Injury

Postby Pongo » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:05 pm

youngneil1 wrote:Hehe, yes frightening amount of details in such a game, the more one thinks of it ;-)


Heh yeah Jeremy must read these threads and wonder what he's got himself into! :D

there's definitely pros and cons to both approaches. On balance I'm still with the memorisation route on the grounds of balance and planning etc, but either system would work.
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Re: Resting, Regenration, Death and Injury

Postby Lurking Grue » Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:23 pm

youngneil1 wrote:Considering regeneration I would automatically refill hitpoints and spellpoints/stamina to the level they were before the combat (which might have been reduced already), but decrese max. hp and max. spell points/stamina by a certain amount (e.g. 5 points, not dropping ever lower than 1, of course).

Whoa, brother! Slow down a bit. Did I understand you right, that you wanted to refill HP and SP after each battle, i.e. insta-heal the party? No, no, nooo, that's a big N O from me. Sorry to be blunt here, but insta-healing the party after each battle is one the worst things to do in a CRPG, IMHO. I will oppose that with every fibre of my being.

Stamina Points I can see as something that are relatively fast to recover after battle, but not instantly after battle. Depending on the character's attributes, Stamina could "recharge" to full in about 10 in-game minutes or maybe 1 in-game hour, or something (ought to be customizable by the module maker, I think). However, Hit Points should not recover fast. They ought to be slow(ish) to completely replenish, with rest, medical aid (skill use!), and healing items to speed it up; or (staying true to Old School) they would not replenish at all without rest, etc. That's how I'd want it anyhow.

To have any tension in battle, there needs to be decisions and risks involved in it, and decisions that range beyond the battle you're fighting now. Say, a party of adventurers is fighting to escape an enemy fortress. They cannot rest until they have escaped. They only have one healing potion and they have one character who can cast Heal a few times. This situation creates tension and excitement and the player has hard choices to make on when to use that healing potion and when to expend those few healing spells. Each battle needs to be won with minimal damage to the party as there is no knowledge when they might rest and recuperate the next time. Every victory is a cause of celebration and a step closer to salvation. Now, if the party members would automatically heal and recover to full HP and SP after each battle, there wouldn't be any of that tension nor that many hard choices either. You could just plow through the encounters without worrying about the next and also cast all your healing spells each battle with no worry about the next. As long as you have 1 HP left after a battle, it's a victory. Contrary to the other system, where that would be a pyrrhic victory at best.

At least that's how I see it. I'm open for discussion, but I will not support insta-healing the party after each battle. Nope. As an option in the Engine, sure, but not as the only option.

Peace. (Not looking to start a shouting match here, this is just something I feel very strongly about.)
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Re: Resting, Regenration, Death and Injury

Postby youngneil1 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:05 pm

Hehe, me neither (the shouting part :-)). Just toying with new ideas here, that's all.
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Re: Resting, Regenration, Death and Injury

Postby Lurking Grue » Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:45 pm

No harm, no foul. :) *thumbs up*

Anyway, this shows well how many different ways there are to do things in CRPGs. That's why it is great to have a good, thorough discussion about them and ponder both pros and cons of rules and design issues. Hopefully, this will give Jeremy good ideas to the development of the IB engine and what to implement and how.

Hopefully also, the IB Engine and Toolset will be a very versatile and easily customizable one. Something which can be tailored to make widely different games, even ruleswise, depending on the variables and options chosen. Of course the underlying basic ruleset will remain the same, but at least with scripting (if not with premade customization options) one ought to be able to change how the game plays quite significantly.

Right, back to the topic at hand. What you guys wrote above about potions and such, I agree wholeheartedly. The ridiculous potion-spam of many action RPGs should be avoided like the plague. I've also always found it funny how many CRPGs allow the characters to quaff potions in the middle of the battle with a push of a button. The quaffing is usually instantaneous as are the effects, and none of that even slows the character down on bit - he can swing his sword at the enemies while simultaneously drinking potions by the dozen. Ridiculous.

Depending on the direction the combat system takes (whether it will use Action Points, for example), I'd hope drinking a potion will take at least an action and possibly more. It should also reduce your defenses by quite a lot for the duration of quaffing (as you can hardly be fully aware of your surroundings, dodging and parrying like a boss, whilst drinking a potion).

Then of course, as a module maker, one can limit the amount of potions in the game to such a degree, that spamming them will just not be possible.
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