Erik Temple wrote:
Re: Plans for making stats more important to gameplay
One thing that does nag at me a bit: the cumulative nature of stat upgrades that you seem to be planning. The Kerkerkruip design has always impressed me by not falling into the typical RPG trap of stat progression: rather than make the player character "interesting" via increasing bonuses*, Kerkerkruip has always required the player to balance positive and negative effects of any tactic or strategy. I feel like cumulative stat upgrades could potentially work against this design. Or not.
I see your point. The way I'm thinking about it, there would be two kinds of effects: (1) some challenges will just become easier as your statistics increase; (2) others will scale up with you, since you are fighting tougher monsters.
This is basically the way the game works already. As you become tougher, some of the challenges become simply easier -- for instance, killing the undead that may jump out of the sarcophagus, or the rotting corpse that may come out of the pile of human body parts, or the thieving imp. But other challenges remain roughly equal, namely, killing the next monster -- since the next monster becomes tougher at roughly the same rate as the player. In itself, that give a nice balance of a feeling of progression and not having the game become trivial. But more is needed to make it interesting
. The powers mechanics ensures that the player is always tempted to take on monsters that are slightly above her own current strength, because if she doesn't, she won;t be able to rise to the strength needed to take on Malygris.
Statistics would get their interest in another way, namely through the mechanic of having to divide your points over three of them. You'll need to increase each statistic in order to scale your powers and prowess up with the monsters -- for instance, a dexterity-dependent power won't do much against Malygris is you're still at dexterity 4. But you can't increase all of them sufficiently, so you'll either have to accept that your stats are mediocre by the end of the game, or you need to specialise and accept some weaknesses in order to gain other strengths.
Of course, this only works if the stats have an obvious influence on the game, and if they are well-balanced. (I.e., it shouldn't be the case that dexterity is always better than willpower. It should depend on which powers you want to use, which enemies you'll meet in which circumstances, which items you find, and so on.)
I'm not sure that I like the idea of all of these checks being completely silent. Surely if my dexterity gives me a bonus or penalty to my to-hit score, I should see that reflected in the summary of the roll? Other checks, such as probability of identifying a scroll, could certainly be silent, but anything that affects the core gameplay (combat) ought to be explicit.
(Random further comment on explicit checks: I'd like to see the check for the explode power on death be explicit. If the player doesn't see any "you failed to explode" text at the end of the game, he is left wondering why the power didn't work--is the game buggy?)
You should always explode. If you do not, it is a bug. (If you die because of an attack, that is -- you don't explode if you fall from the staircase or kill yourself with a fragmentation grenade.)
Also, if the stats are to be more important during play, it would probably be best if the STATUS command were automatically called at the outset so that the player can see where he stands.
Yes, though only if the stats vary much for starting characters.
One final thought: I tried to couple some of the powers to statistics, and found that dexterity, perception and willpower together don't cover enough terrain. This is not surprise, since they weren't invented for this purpose, but it may be a problem now. So I'm thinking of changing them to something else -- maybe body, mind and spirit? That might fight well with the game's soul-based cosmology.
More tactical mechanics?
While I think the addition of stats will make the game more interesting, I would also love to see more options for combat at the tactical level. Right now, the major tactical focus is the concentration mechanic. I would love to see options expanded so that there is a bit more variety in combat moment to moment. I have no particular ideas about what that might look like, but I wanted to register my desire to see more variability here.
I'm open to suggestions, of course.
I have almost zero time for this sort of thing right now, but even so I am considering adding an animated title page (a la this
) that would display on graphics-capable interpreters. Would that be a welcome contribution?
That would be absolutely fantastic. I love it.