Thursday, 27 March 2014

Planning to move forward

Greetings friends!

So in just over a week my infamous final exam of AAT Level 2 will be on me and once it's done, regardless of outcome (I'm hoping it's going to be a pass, and I'm trying my hardest to get the double entry orders to stick in my brain!) I'll be resuming my output on CRYPTS: A Weird West Dungeon Crawler!

Now to some of you this will be something you've been waiting a long time for, as with this we'll be seeing updated rules, amended monster cards and loot and even the first draft of the main book including fluff, rules, etc!

To me however this is a super scary thought! One of the reasons I've been throwing out posts about changes and ideas is to keep them all on paper so to speak. This way I have my digital record so that I ca then begin trawling through and compiling the latest version.

Some of these ideas are small but far reaching for example I'm thinking if renaming Free Actions to something else, maybe Tactical Actions (TA) or Utility Actions (UA) as one reaction I have seen a frequent number of people have had to the name Free Action is that they're free, therefore you can just keep using them as many as you want. As you have probably seen however, Free/Tactical/Utility Actions are designed around providing alternative effects such as immobilisations, buffs etc. a name such as Utility Actions gives a better impression of this.

Likewise the rules on Out of Encounter healing is changing (currently it's being flat out removed) as allowing the single use of a heal seemed a little... Clunky...

I'm also toying with Out of Encounter Resurrection. The idea is to not require Blood Shards to do so, but the Rez comes in at half health compared to with a Shard being full health. This allows players who die in fights but there are no shards to Rez them to come back in the case that the posse can finish the encounter. Of course being at half health does mean that they are more likely to die again, but that's why it's not as good as a Shard based Rez!

All of these are just ideas, but unless something drastically changes as a result of discussion or feedback they will almost certainly be appearing in the next version.

You may be wondering why I'm doing away altogether with out of encounter healing. Well as I said its clunky and inelegant and it never felt like it really fixed the problem I experienced when I first created MaliQuest. That issue is the unlimited heal. You see because originally the game was handled as an actual tabletop and players moved into the next encounter by actually moving and opening doors, as soon as the encounter was over the player would stand still, equip their healing items and just heal themselves over and over wasting tens of turns doing little bits of heals before then spending turns just walking to the next door. It was boring and wasted the time of everyone involved.

Now the game is more encounter based, by having every single area a new encounter, movement out of encounters being free allowing you to move as much or as little as you like to set up for the next encounter, but we still had the healing issue.

One thing I didn't want to do was say that players couldn't heal at all outside of combat. It seemed silly, why wouldn't they stand around using their healing gear?

So removing it entirely doesn't solve that, but it does remove the clunky mechanic that every player can use 1 heal outside of each encounter.

So enter the idea on having different types of resurrections.

You see I've a big background in World of Warcraft, a game where you have normal resurrection spells and others called Battle Resurrection. The first has a few funny mechanics that are pointless; a mana cost for starters, also a large cast time. All this does is act as a time sink slowing down the party before they have to move onto the next fight. In all fairness you could easily get rid of these and people's enjoyment would probably improve.

On the contrary battle resurrection is often faster cast but rewards less health. In addition this can usually only be cast once per fight.

This is something that I'm hoping to bring in to CRYPTS but in a different manner.

You see Shards are super valuable, you can use them to correct your missed hits, or turn an enemy's critical damage into a flesh wound, using one of these to bring back a posse member should be good, which is why anyone brought back this way is back with full health, GAs etc. The cost is he 1GA to cast and the Blood Shard that is exhausted.

This is why the reward has been reversed and resurrection outside of an encounter rewards half health. Plus it means that the next encounter requires a bit of strategy. At half health a single crit might be enough to kill you, so do you try and focus on DPS to bring down the spawns before they can kill you, or do you play a slower game and try to get back to full health? This is a challenge which only exists when healing is restricted to inside an encounter.

With hope you see now how these two little changes play off each other. Plus they add additional opportunities for paths and aspects as we saw with the path of bones and being able to combat Rez without a Shard but instead at the cost of Free/Utility Actions. Like I said though there are also aspect options available. We've already got the Healer, but what if something like a Combat Medic was added, it could have an aspect card that made all out of encounter resurrections on a 4+ give 75% or 100% health, who knows?


Anyway, I hope you've been enjoying getting glimpses in my design process and seeing how it works. By now you've probably worked out that it's all free association, and the process of writing it out actually forms the design system, but I find it helps and that's all good by me.

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

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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