Thursday, 20 March 2014

CRYPTS: Designing a Path

Good Thursday everyone!

So it seems that after making some poor downloading choices I was left without any available mobile data until today giving me little to do but put thoughts onto screen for publishing at a slightly later time.

So I'd like to talk you through one of the bits I've been working on in my head as I design the second optional expansion for the game CRYPTS: A Weird West Dungeon Crawler.

I am of course talking about CRYPTS: Crossed Paths (working title) the optional expansion that introduces Paths, or if you will; alternative character development.


So today's discussion will be focused on one of my favourite Path concepts, the Path of Blood. It's a real mix match path offering something for everyone.

The great thing about Blood is that it celebrates the power of Blood Shards in it's purest form without being purified (Elemental) or corrupted (Bones), blood is just the power of The Dark Below in it's natural organic state, and as I am designing these abilities I am trying to capture this theme, of people using an eldritch power but possibly loosing themselves as a result.

So you start off at level 1, which like all paths is an immobilise. Unlike the others, this immobilise is an AoE based ability (Area of Effect) which is centred around your character and has a range of 1. You then have to make a Toughness roll (with Melee bonuses) on every enemy within range and for every success they are immobilised.

This represents your character growing tentacles of your own and ensnaring the enemies and as it keeps the enemies locked in place it is most useful for Tanks and Melee DPS Aspects.

Every time you successfully use this ability (that's causing 1+ immobilise) you gain a point in your Blood path. Once you have 10 points you unlock level 2 Blood Heal.

Now Blood Heal is quite interesting, it's a Free Action so isn't interfering with your regular heals or attacks and allows you to drain your own health and give it to another friendly player within a range of 6. Currently we're looking at a ratio of 1:2, so if you were to sacrifice 6HP your ally would get 12. This requires a 3+ to cast, so you're looking at 2/3rd success rate. It is possible for you to kill yourself using this ability, so it's wise to keep that in mind.

This ability is most useful for healers or ranged DPS who should be staying clear of damage.

Every time this ability is used you add 1 point to your Blood Path. Once you have totalled 20 points (so +10 from level 2) you unlock level 3: Feral Claw.

Now Feral Claw is a nice meaty ability as it transforms one of your arms into a large weapon.

Feral Claw has a range of only 1 but it's critical is very high, you're looking at a stat profile of something like 1/2/8 plus it has 2d6 damage dice! Making it twice as likely to Crit!

Yes it doesn't have the basic damage of the Infernis Axe or the reach, but it is single handed, however it is still a very nice ability, and using 1GA to use it allows it to either replace your standard melee attack or just give an alternative.

Feral Claw really comes into it's own when you reach Level 4 however and every time you successfully damage an enemy with this attack you gain 1 point in the Path of Blood.

Once you have gathered 40 points (Level 3 + 20) you unlock Level 4: Growth.

Now Growth is a multi choice Free Action so you will not be using it alongside your Immobilise or Blood Heal. It costs 3+ to cast (so 1/3rd fail rate) and applies a buff to your character until your next activation.

Your choices are as follows:
- Armoured Hide +2 Armour. This may not seem like much, but it does not require a breaking roll like normal armour does, instead you're using your Free Action.
- Bludgeoning Claw. Any successful attacks with your Feral Claw this activation will reduce the enemies' Armour value by 1 for the remainder of the Encounter.
- Mutated Legs. Increase your Movement by 2.

As you can see these have some very useful abilities, the armour will remain until you activate next, so any attacks between then and now will be at -2 damage, bludgeoning claw is great for any future attacks for either yourself or your party and mutated legs could depending on your Aspect or weapon load out give you the distance bonus you need.

Every time you successfully cast this you get 1 blood point and at 80 points (Level 4 +40) you reach Level 5: Monstrous Transformation.

Now this is one if my favourites! It requires a 2+ to cast and is a Free Action. Casting this successfully transforms you into a hulking brute of a creature (gives you an excuse to use a monstrous creature model of your own). You loose all weapons and can only use Feral Claw ability and Growth however your Melee Stat doubles, as does your Health & Toughness stats. In addition the damage profile for Feral Claw changes to 2/4/8, so you are keeping your high damage but your low and medium damage are doubling, plus your damage dice are increased by +1 (so you roll 3d6).

Now I'm sure you can see, this is a super good ability, it turns you into a hard to kill, damage dealing monster! But it comes at a price! Every activation after you initiate the transformation it remans in effect and you MUST discard a Blood Shard or you become exhausted. Your body returns to normal, you are reduced to 1 Health, can not use any combat modifiers and your stats are reduced by 50%, you may not use Free Actions and receive -1GA, all of this for the remainder of the Encounter.

Having the 3d6 damage dice does help you recharge your Shards, but in no way does it mean you can keep it up indefinitely but it might just give you the edge in combat you are looking for.


So there we have it, the breakdown of the Blood Path. Of course everything is still very much in pre alpha status, and until the core game & Aspects are properly ironed out this won't even go into testing, but as I hope you can see this is a type of character development that I'm quite excited about!

So until next time, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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