v0.1.3 thoughts, area design

v0.1.3 thoughts, area design

July 1, 2022

Hi there! Been awhile because I’ve been working on The Infected World. But I’ve been thinking about and tweaking ANOINTED in the meantime a bit.

Tweaks for v0.1.3

Some general playtesting observations/changes.

  • Unstaggering needs to be worse for PCs and less bad for NPCs. The original stagger rules (each loses an action) made more sense in an earlier build of the game where each had two actions (more like APOCALYPSE FRAME). To that end:
    • PCs have half stamina instead of full at the start of their turn when unstaggering. This puts them on the back foot and forces them to reposition, defend, or if they’re feeling risky, overspend on offense after recovering.
    • Most enemies have an ability (usually defensive) that they do when they unstagger. For example, Spearmen will use Guard. This gives a little more of a cadence to a fight on the enemy side too.
    • Need to reconsider major threats and staggering/unstaggering too.
  • Changing a Harm/Defense tie from half Harm/stagger to full Harm/stagger.
    • This achieves a similar effect but it’s faster because everyone takes more Harm and acts more.

Some changes:

  • More keywords and more equipment to play around with.
  • I want to change how spells work. I’m not satisfied with treating them just like weapons, it works mechanically but the feeling isn’t there.
    • I’m thinking split them out more like Souls does, kind of. You have implements and you have spells. The difference is that instead of you picking the ones you have ready, you’ll tie them to (up to two) implements that have slots of various spell tiers (so your starter implement will probably have 3-4 tier 1 slots, while implements with higher level slots will have less).
    • I want to introduce the idea of banned/heretical spells that can only be used with certain implements.

And some balance stuff:

  • General stamina/focus tweaks (especially focus).
  • Did you know range in a tactics game is pretty good? Turns out it is! Part of v0.1.3 balancing I’ll be doing is tweaking ranged abilities downward (usually just by increased stamina/focus costs for polearms, ranged attacks, etc but in a few cases using new keywords or reduced Harm).
  • One thing I need to keep track of (evident to testing) is how much defense a given enemy has, especially for bosses. Enemies need enough for it to matter but not enough to stonewall everything.

Designing Areas and Encounters

I’ve gone through a few phases of ideas for how I wanted to define an area.

First, I had considered just having each area be a set of point-encounters that you could overlay on any map. I gave up on that when I read an interesting/relevant article and reflected on the value of how much the environment itself matters in a souls-like experience.

Second, I was considering a map but with a heavy reliance on random encounters that would tick off and be reset by the area clock. I went through a few iterations on this before I tested one of the ideas for a realm for RUNE. RUNE has a LOT of similarities (souls-like, solo/GMless assumed, areas by definition have a Realm Clock) so I figured it’d make a good test bed. I like what I landed on there but decided I didn’t like it as a foundational idea for every area.

Right now, I’ve got a several-pronged approach:

  • The broad map of an area is a RUNE-like pointcrawl.
  • Enemies are described for each area. These enemies are one-time setpiece-style encounters. For each of them, the area they’re in is described (like if you can sneak around them, if there’s any way you can reposition or etc).
  • Each enemy has a set of dispositions that describes things like awareness, aggression, etc in a 1-6 chart with the lowest roll being the default. Like a set of dregs might be 1-2 aggressive, 3-4 unaware, 5-6 fearful while a set of soldiers set to guard a location might be 1-3 guarded, 4-5 aggressive, 6 unaware. When you roll to do something like sneak, intimidate, taunt, etc. you roll an Attribute as normal, but how it resolves is you can slot one die you roll into anything that makes sense (so if you’re trying to taunt a line of soldiers into breaking ranks, you can’t reasonably slot in a 6 to make them unaware, but if you were trying to sneak past them you probably can’t slot a 4-5 in to make them more aggressive). Anything you can’t slot defaults to the lowest roll set (so if you rolled nothing but 4-5’s to sneak, those guards would stay as guarded).
  • When the area clock fills, encounters that have been defeated are replaced with a less-nasty random encounter.

I made up a very quick area for a playtest, which I’ll be making a quickstart with as kind of a tutorial-dungeon area. (I’ll probably drop it in the main book as well.)

And that’s all for now! Hope to have that out soon. Until next time!

Hi there! Been awhile because I’ve been working on The Infected World. But I’ve been thinking about and tweaking ANOINTED in the meantime a bit. Tweaks for v0.1.3 Some general playtesting observat...

(Read the original itch here!)