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Re: [Adonthell-devel] Battle System

From: Kai Sterker
Subject: Re: [Adonthell-devel] Battle System
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 15:52:25 +0100

On Wednesday 30 January 2002 01:09, you wrote:

> 2) A real-time battle system that takes place on the actual map.
> My vote goes for #2. I'm a huge fan of the Secret of Mana battle engine.

Yeah, I could play a little of SoM at this years meeting, and I found the way 
battles integrate into the game quite nifty. Although I'm still in favour of 
a system where you have to think a little too.

> [*] The other party members (I'd say about a total of three characters per
> party) follow the main character around and also do battle based upon AI.

At least it should be possible to issue general commands, like 'defend', 
'protect', 'attack strongest/weakest/closest'.

Defend means that they try to keep out of battle, use healing spells and 
poitons on themselves if the need arises.

Protect: help another character, either by attacking their attackers, or 
using healing on them.

This should be easily changable for any character during combat, so that you 
don't loose all influence over them.

But in general, I would find it nice if the party members would keep their 
own identity as much as possible. 

> [*] The characters will have a few applicable stats, as opposed to a whole
> bunch of meaningless ones.

No problem with that, although we might need a few more stats for things 
other than battle. 

One thing we musn't do is see battle as a completely different part of the 
game. Instead it should integrate as much as possible into the gameplay. 
That's why I would favour battle on the normal map. But battles also have to 
integrate with the plot. Enemies have to fit into their environment. Quite a 
few of the enemies should be NPC's that turn hostile at some point.

> [*] Each of the three party members are capable of doing physical damage
> with weapons. The weapons that the characters equip are a preset group of
> weapons that are found during the progression of the game's plot. 

I do like this idea - partly ;). The idea of weapon power ups is quite good, 
but they had to integrate better with the gameworld. Of course a smith could 
do a first improvement on a weapon, but there could also be enchantments, 
different fighting techniques learned from 'teachers' and maybe others. The 
really outstanding improvements should take much more than a visit to the 
next blacksmith. Especially, different characters should get access to 
different improvements, depending on their stats. (See also my other mail on 

In general, I like the idea of having not too much different weapons in the 
game, since they only clutter the inventory. 

> [*] As far as magic goes, we came up with a total 0wnacious system. All of
> the monsters will have an inherent spell or set of spells inside them.
> Using a command that could be called something like "Copy," you can attempt
> to copy the spell from the monster and use it for yourself.

Well, I dunno.

I think your idea is exactly something that I would like to avoid. If we do 
it like that, magic would be practically restricted to the battle, and it 
also raises the question where the monsters got their magic from.

Magic, like other things should be present in all parts of the game, not just 
in the combat part. I had a few thoughts about magic in the game, but it 
would be too much to lay everything down in detail here. But I'll give a 
brief summary:

First of all, magic is the domain of Elves and Half-Elves. Humans are simply 
not talented enough, and Dwarves despise magic. (Those two would be able to 
make up for this with Alchemy. They can brew potions or make Explosives for 
use in battle.)

How magic integrates into the game world: in the distant past, when Elves 
fought their battles with the Ancients, magic was as common as bread. It was 
highly developped but it caused much pain and sorrow.

After the battle, the surviving Elves stopped using magic, and as the years 
passed, most of the old spells where forgotten. Much later, in their battles 
with the humans, some of the magic was rediscovered and used again, but it 
still is not very advanced.

So much for the history of magic. Now, my idea is that over the years, 
different 'schools' of magic have formed, dealing with a certain area of 
magic. To learn spells, you would have to find a teacher of that school to 
learn spells from him. (in a similar fashion as you would improve your weapon 
skills). To integrate magic more closely with the rest of the game, those 
teachers would of course often require some kind of 'bribing'. Be it simply 
money, or some deed done, or whatever. Some schools of magic would go well 
together, other would have too different philosophies, so that you could not 
learn spells of both schools. Some teachers might make certain requirements 
as to your alignment (there it is again ;)), etc. pp.

To learn something (be it magic, weapon usage or improvements of talents), 
you had to spend Training Points you would each time you level up. That would 
close the circle: you fight to get EXP so you increase in levels. Each time 
you level up, you can improve your skills to be better in combat to get more 
EXP to ...

Even nicer is the fact that it is up to you how your character turns out. 
Good or Evil, a tough figther or great wizard, or anything in between. Still, 
there won't be many attributes you'd need to take care of, as much of it 
could happen behind the scenes. You could just play, and wouldn't necessarily 
notice that every decision you make has an influence on your character.

Such a system would come close to an ideal role playing game. :)

Now, to come back to your suggestions of magic: there are a few ideas that 
would still fit:

* Spells have to be 'trained'. If by additional sessions at your teacher,
  by using them frequently or by other means I don't mind.

* The idea of the "Ultra Cast" is also very good and would fit well. Magic is
  an exhaustive business, and the prize for summoning great powers in the time
  of need might be the (temporary) loss of that powers.

* Aquiring spells from enemy creatures. I think that could be made into a
  special spell. And espacially at later stages in the games, many magical
  creatures would turn up that have spells you can 'copy'.

* "No lame MP and stuff." Nope, we wouldn't need that. The 'recovery' system
  you propose deals well enough with that :). 

> [*] Now, the "recovery" system that I mentioned. Here's the thing: we can't
> just have the player slashing and casting spells at full power, one after
> the other in succession. The game would be horribly easy. Thus, there'll be
> a "recovery" time which will be calculated from the action the player
> takes, and from his "Speed" stat. The more "Speed," the faster the
> recovery.

Yep, I'm all for that.

> [*] Two staples of the RPG world will, however, still apply: Hit Points
> (HP) and Experience Points (EXP). HP is, essentially, how much health you
> have before you die. EXP is gained through successful battles, and as your
> levels increase, so do your stats. With each levelup, though, I think the
> player should be able to choose which stats to increase, like in Diablo.
> That makes it a lot more customizable.

Well, in general I think all the stats can be used internally by the game, 
hidden from the player. They can be used to determine reactions of NPC's 
towards the player, for damage/to hit calculations and all the other things. 
But there are other indicators that tell the character how strong/etc. he is, 
so we need not worry players with all that crap.

> Hmm. I think this is all we came up with. Anyway, it's a very cool and
> unique system. I bet a lot of you are going to freak out when you read this
> e-mail, but read it over two or three times and try to really understand
> it. ;P I do think Adonthell should depart from the rather cold and overdone
> D&D feel that a lot of RPGs are featuring today. Instead, it should follow
> more in the footsteps of Japanese RPGs, like FF and SoM.

To tell the truth, I think D&D is not necessarily suitable for CRPG's. It's 
all about throwing dice and stuff. I think in a CRPG there are better ways to 
deal with all that stuff. Like actually finding teachers instead of assigning 
point to some abstract figures. 

In fact, the actual combat system is still quite independant from all that 
teaching and stuff. It's the preparations for combat that integrate closely 
into the game, as well as the result. So all the ideas given in this mail 
should more or less apply in any case - if you like them!

So yeah - what do you think?


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