A whole bunch of ideas for KotC 2

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A whole bunch of ideas for KotC 2

Postby guvnor » Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:12 am

First off, I'd just like to say that KotC is a beautiful game, and I'll be happy with any sort of sequel, even if it just turns out to be a slightly different map and storyline.
That said, here's my ideas for how to subtly change the next game (hopefully for the better)

Larger Overland map (with "fog of war") -- Since the resolution for KotC 2 is going to be higher, hopefully we'll get a larger map anyways. Ideally, I'd love to see something similar to the maps in Fallout 1 and 2, where you can roam around gradually uncovering sectors of the overland map yourself, or have cities and other important locations revealed to you through dialogue with various NPC's. This could also be a useful tool for keeping some of the more difficult missions out of the way until the part is ready for them. (ex: there's a secret mine up in the hills, but you can't find the entrance until you track down the old miner and persuade him to show it to you on the map)

Save/Camping on Overland Map -- It makes sense that characters should be able to save/camp anywhere in the wilderness. However, just to spice things up, I'd have the party roll to see whether the night passes uneventfully, or whether they trigger a random nighttime encounter with bandits, wildlife, or other evil critters! This would still make staying in inns and houses desirable (since you can't be ambushed), and worth the $25-200 gold pricetag.
If you wanted to carry it a step further, you could give the party the option of leaving a character on guard (they don't regain HP/SP, but the chances of an ambush are reduced) or make safer wilderness camping a bonus trait for a Ranger character class.

Item creation can only be performed in cities -- You can make this a feature of the weapon/magic/clerical shops. It makes sense, and will cut down on late game "oh look, there's a bunch of red dragons or Balors in the next room, in the next room, better craft a bunch of dragon slaying arrows or something out of cold iron."

New Character Class: Ranger -- Basically, a character specializing in ranged weapons rather than melee attacks. They can use light armor (anything wooden or leather), and wield bows, crossbows, staves, daggers, and clubs, but nothing heavier. If possible, I'd also give them bonuses against animals and surprise encounters in the wilderness. (possibly also a save against Entanglement.) They should have the ability to craft basic items made out of leather or wood, as well as archery weapons and arrows/bolts of sleep and poison. I'd also give them bonuses to dexterity, reduced penalties for shooting in melee and around blocked targets, plus additional ranged attacks every 3 to 5 levels.

New Character Class: Monk -- Somewhere between a cleric and a knight, and specializing in unarmed combat. Monks get high dexterity/dodge/movement/initiative bonuses, as well as easier critical attacks, and resistance to most mental attacks and stunning. Like wizards and clerics, monks can learn a variety of techniques from scrolls they pick up as they advance in level. These moves are more like the cleave attacks of knights though, since they don't require SP and can be used repeatedly without resting. (Though some moves require a full turn to implement, or can only be performed when flanked by two enemies, or when one square away from an enemy, etc...) Some of their moves will have similar status effects to wizard/clerical spells (stun, sleep, blind, etc...) and can be cured or protected against in the same way.

Having a monk in the party would be a double-edged sword, since they're great at dealing out critical hits, can take out or stun 2 or 3 humanoid opponents in a single round, and almost always get the first attack, but lack the armor class of knights, are vulnerable to magic, and their attacks become less useful against large sized opponents with lots of resistances or aura attacks (like dragons). Still, while they may not be as good as knights when it comes to receiving damage, they're better than any other class at dodging, and higher level characters can meditate and cast a variation on the "false life" spell which allows them to soak up a few extra points of damage, which may just see them through a tough battle.

Allow players to choose between 3 to 5 characters for their party -- It all boils down to replayability. Since you pretty much have to play with at least one wizard and cleric, it'd be nice to have a few more options your second time around. I'd recommend allowing players to choose at start up whether to set out with 3 to 5 characters in their party, with experience being split up equally between the number of characters. The neat thing about this is that you wouldn't have to adjust the base difficulty at all. 3 characters will level up significantly faster, but it'll be a struggle just to stay alive. 5 will have an easier time of it, but earn less experience, meaning that they'll be taking on comparatively more experienced opponents as the game progresses.

Similarly, Have at least one randomized dungeon -- Again. I don't know how difficult it would be to implement, but it would drastically increase the replayability factor, especially if you had a couple of them. It wouldn't have to be terribly big or complex. You could even predraw a few dozen empty levels with one up and down staircase, and then have the game pick 10 at random and populate them with enemies. I wouldn't make them part of the main story or anything, just in case random fate deals out something the player can't handle, but they'd make good sidequests, especially if the bottom level is guaranteed to contain at least one weapon/armor/artifact that makes the trip worthwhile.
Last edited by guvnor on Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:43 am, edited 4 times in total.
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A whole bunch of ideas for KotC 2

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Re: A whole bunch of ideas for KotC 2

Postby guvnor » Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:29 am

Here are a few more that I thing might be interesting, but less important to the enjoyment of the game:

Carry capacity should be based on strength -- Ideally, I'd prefer a scrolling inventory closer to Nethack, based on intrinsic weight, with various "burdened" and "overloaded" status penalties for carrying too much stuff. But if you want to stick with the basic grid pattern, perhaps you could make it a scrolling window with the equivalent of 2 inventory slots per point of strength. A character with an average strength of 10 would have 20 spaces, while your wispy little elven wizard with a strength of 4 can only carry 8 items, and your big bruiser knight with a strength of 18 can carry 36! Of course, that could be a problem with intrinsic damaging spells. You could make them autodrop anything over capacity, but you'd have to make sure that quest items were unaffected.

The number of charges per wand can be adjusted -- I'd love a slide-bar that adjusts the number or charges a wizard/cleric can add to a wand (which automatically adjusts the price accordingly). There are times when you just don't need 50 Steel Skin spells, and it's not worth the price of enchanting a wand. (or you badly need a new fireball wand, but don't quite have the XP to pull it off) I know you can scribe a bunch of spell scrolls instead, but wands are so much easier.

Allow non magic/cleric characters to cast some magic spells from items. This one is a bit iffy, even in my own mind. I'm just trying to think about replayability and not making it completely impossible to go through a game without a cleric (or to a lesser extent, a mage). I'm thinking that it might work if characters of the wrong class could read cleric/wizard spell scrolls, but suffered a significantly higher casting failure rate, in addition to the usual penalties for armor and requiring both hands to be empty. They should also only be able to cast spells that are half their current level.
Of course, without a wizard or cleric in the party, they wouldn't be able to scribe scrolls themselves, but a particularly ballsy team of knights could buy a bunch of healing spells from the village store, in order to heal themselves and remove status effects in emergencies.
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Re: A whole bunch of ideas for KotC 2

Postby guvnor » Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:08 am

A few more ideas:

Objects should have unknown effects until wielded/worn: Unless you're crafting it yourself or buying it from a shop, weapon/armor/accessories should be unidentified until they're used. It adds, that extra level of mystery, especially if you're never quite sure if you're going to get blasted for picking up that chaotic evil longsword that that lich king just dropped.

Also, I'm sure others have suggested it but cursed and uncursed status would be a very nice addition as well. Obviously, there'd be a spell and possibly a service in town to remove curses from objects, but it would spice things up when trying to decide whether or not to try on your spoils while in the depths of the enemy's lair.


Let the player adjust party order and formation: There were a couple of bits in KotC 1 where I found myself rather annoyed with always having the same character(s) in front (or back) every time. It would be nice to be able to switch the order around at the player's whim. (if your main character is heavily wounded, it may be wise to rotate him to the back, or if you're fighting undead, put your cleric in front.) An even better thing would be able to adjust the party's formation as well. There are times when it may be convenient to have the party closely packed like this:

..#.
###

But there are other times when it may be more convenient to order the party like this:

#
#
#
#

Or spread out like this (when applicable) so that nobody is blocking anybody else's shot:

# # # #

Being able to select who "takes point" adds a subtle, but interesting dynamic to melee strategy.



Allow certain Magical/Clerical spells to be cast before battle -- This is another iffy one, but there are an awful lot of spells that I never used in battle, simply because it wasn't worth wasting an entire turn of combat to cast them. There are times when you know you're going to have to fight the moment you enter a room. It would make sense if your mage could cast hasten or stoneskin or whatever other party buffs he has memorized before plunging into battle. To do this, you'd have to figure out a way to make the spells wear off in a reasonable amount of time outside of combat, possibly by counting "steps" (every 4 squares moved counts as a melee "turn").

To be fair though, I'd fully expect monsters to be able to do the same, especially the ones lurking in ambush on the other side of the door. (of if you're foolish enough to actually believe the sign that says "please knock first") :lol:
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Re: A whole bunch of ideas for KotC 2

Postby BlueSalamander » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:08 pm

Good stuff, thanks for this guvnor. Some remarks:

- overland map: Would you say it's necessary to have one most of the time? Considering some games manage well without any world map. For example, in Dark Sun, you just walk through whatever wilderness area there is, there isn't any separate screen.

- item creation, again, I wonder if it's at all necessary; Many RPGs have few creation options and that doesn't seem to hurt them. Otherwise I agree it's better to restrict it to cities.

- ranger: a bonus versus animals seems too circumstantial and if the class is mostly focused on ranged attacks then it makes more sense to call it 'Archer'. Otherwise yeah, I like the Archer class.

- a randomized dungeon is possible but would not be as interesting as a non-random dungeon, in my opinion.

- On carry capacity, I agree that the game should track the carried weight rather than just allow a set number of item slots.

- Identifying items, cursed and blessed items: I'm afraid I regard these things as little more than unnecessary complications.

- Agreed on party formation. Note that you can change the leader in KotC by clicking 'Leader' in the character sheet for the first character.

- Allow certain Magical/Clerical spells to be cast before battle: one of the unresolvable questions in my mind. By the way, have you noticed how little buffing there is in Dragon Age Origins, compared to Neverwinter Nights 2? There are a few abilities and spells that are actually permanent but which take away a portion of your magic points as long as they're activated, like "flaming weapons".
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Re: A whole bunch of ideas for KotC 2

Postby guvnor » Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:13 am

BlueSalamander wrote:Good stuff, thanks for this guvnor. Some remarks:

- overland map: Would you say it's necessary to have one most of the time? Considering some games manage well without any world map. For example, in Dark Sun, you just walk through whatever wilderness area there is, there isn't any separate screen.


Hmmm.... I think most computer-based RPG's benefit from some type of map that indicates where you are in relationship to the various of towns you've visited, just because most quests generally involve lots of back and forth between them. (and since they usually have made-up fantasy names like Tarmfroshard, it's very easy to forget which one is which) That said, it doesn't have to be the primary mode of showing your party's travel. Just having an item or menu option that pops up a graphic with some of the major towns, rivers and mountain ranges drawn on it, with a red dot that says "you are here" would be fine.

I actually prefer a large scale wilderness, the bigger the better, since it opens up many more opportunities for random encounters and exploration. (plus, as a DM, you can give quests with wonderfully vague directions, that require the party to roam around the wilderness looking for the "hidden mine between two snow-topped mountains" or "follow the river to it's source." I'm kind of sadistic that way though, so if you do want to avoid an overland map entirely, you might want to include a quest compass or something that at least points you in the general direction of whatever your active quest is.



- item creation, again, I wonder if it's at all necessary; Many RPGs have few creation options and that doesn't seem to hurt them. Otherwise I agree it's better to restrict it to cities.


I kind of liked it initially because it was something I hadn't seen it before, but it does have it's faults and exploits, especially once you reach level 20 and EXP no longer means anything. Overall, I think it's something that could be omitted without any major impact on the game. In fact, if you do remove it, it could allow you to transfer some of those abilities to NPC's in the various towns.

For example, most towns should have at least one blacksmith who can put a new edge on your blade. Their skill, however, would vary from town to town. Most can do +1 or +2, the better specialists can go up to +3 or +4, and some legendary craftsmen can even make it +5. Likewise, some wizards and clerics can impart specific effects on weapons and armor, but their knowledge is limited to maybe 3 to 6 enchantments each, meaning that if you have your heart set on a +3 flaming vorpal longsword, you may need to visit three different cities before you can find the right people to forge/enchant it just how you want it.

Another thing this would allow you to do, is expand some of the mage and cleric spell repertoire with temporary versions of the elemental weapon enchantments. (most of the protection ones are there already) Having a flaming or shocking sword spell would be a useful ability for some spellcasters.



- ranger: a bonus versus animals seems too circumstantial and if the class is mostly focused on ranged attacks then it makes more sense to call it 'Archer'. Otherwise yeah, I like the Archer class.


You're right... Regular old Archer makes more sense, and is a more widely recognized term. I think the important thing is to give them enough benefits and bonuses to make them different from knights, and worth playing. (I know a lot of higher level enemies just laugh off arrows, and you've got a class that can run out of ammo, so there should be a good reason why the player would want one in his party)



- a randomized dungeon is possible but would not be as interesting as a non-random dungeon, in my opinion.


If you're planning on making the game modable or expanding the amount of time the characters spend in the wilderness having random encounters, that covers a lot of the same ground. (especially if you throw in the odd higher level random encounters that can result in a few really good pieces of equipment) The main benefit to a random dungeon is that it's something for people to go back to as many times as they like once the main quest is over.



- Identifying items, cursed and blessed items: I'm afraid I regard these things as little more than unnecessary complications.


If you do away with the crafting feature, knowing the features of every weapon/armor you pick up becomes less of an issue, since you can't just create something similar yourself instantaneously. I personally like cursed items, but I'm a sadist when it comes to RPG's (computer or otherwise), and generally believe that if you see a magic sword or ring just lying there in the middle of an ancient crypt, you should pretty much assume that whoever put it there planned on making life miserable for whoever picks it up. :twisted:


- Agreed on party formation. Note that you can change the leader in KotC by clicking 'Leader' in the character sheet for the first character.


Ha! I didn't notice that. I'll have to try that the next time I run through!


- Allow certain Magical/Clerical spells to be cast before battle: one of the unresolvable questions in my mind. By the way, have you noticed how little buffing there is in Dragon Age Origins, compared to Neverwinter Nights 2? There are a few abilities and spells that are actually permanent but which take away a portion of your magic points as long as they're activated, like "flaming weapons".


Haven't played DAO yet, but I generally dislike buff spells no matter which game I'm playing, especially if they have to be cast on an individual person and wear off at the end of combat. Unless you're fighting something pretty powerful that only produces one form of elemental attack, you're better off using those 4 turns to attack than trying to make sure your entire party is buffed. If you decide to keep the spells combat only, One thing I'd try to make sure of is that every protection spell has a higher level variant that can be cast on the entire party at once. That 3 extra turns is likely to be a lifesaver.

I do like the idea of "toggle" buffs that take away a portion of your SP, but I'm not sure how I feel about those spells affecting other members of the party (ie: your wizard casting flaming weapon or icy armor on a sword/shield that is wielded by your knight)
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Re: A whole bunch of ideas for KotC 2

Postby screeg » Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:49 pm

As guvnor said, having a broader wilderness map would allow for random exploring. I really enjoy just wandering out into nowhere and discovering things that are not related to the main story or any quest. These sorts of encounters have mostly been absent from RPGs for many years now, but their return would be welcome. If you created some kind of random dungeon algorithm, you could use it to spawn several around the map when the game is first started which could then be discovered in the midst of your other travels. Difficulty could be set relative to the distance from the starting town.

Some other good ideas there too. I'd love an Archer class, although I lean towards items restriction by slot only instead of weight. Just seems like an un-fun complication. KotC allowed punishingly few slots by the way, for such an equipment-heavy game. An extra row (+50%) for each character would've been welcome, as well as a screen where all inventories could be viewed at once for swapping items.

What about requiring a successful "camp" to save in the wilderness? Allowing players to scribe scrolls if they find a desk in a safe area might be a nice touch.
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Re: A whole bunch of ideas for KotC 2

Postby BlueSalamander » Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:24 am

screeg wrote:These sorts of encounters have mostly been absent from RPGs for many years now, but their return would be welcome.
Have you tried NWN 2 Storm of Zehir? It has a big world map with lots of small things to be found that are unrelated to the main quest.

screeg wrote:Just seems like an un-fun complication. KotC allowed punishingly few slots by the way, for such an equipment-heavy game. An extra row (+50%) for each character would've been welcome, as well as a screen where all inventories could be viewed at once for swapping items.
A new screen just for swapping items sounds good. On item slots, how about TOEE's approach combining weight and item slots? Introducing weight is just a way to make Strength a bit more relevant.
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Re: A whole bunch of ideas for KotC 2

Postby screeg » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:46 pm

I did try NWN2 and forced myself to play all the way to Chapter 2, but I didn't see any special encounters. Even in the wilderness you were forced down open-roofed tunnels everywhere you went. There's not much I liked about the game (actually nothing I can think of) and I've sworn off turn-based with pause for good now.

I don't think introducing weight restrictions makes Strength more relevant, or at least not in an interesting way. It ranks in there with making people stop and eat every 24 hours, a mundane "realistic" chore. There's not much entertainment value in it. I'd suggest restricting big weapons to high Strength users, if the stats in new D&D rules didn't constantly climb as your character progresses. I think that switch from fixed-forever base stats to the climbing model was a big mistake for Gary Gygax :lol: or whoever made it.
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Re: A whole bunch of ideas for KotC 2

Postby BlueSalamander » Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:17 pm

screeg wrote:I did try NWN2 and forced myself to play all the way to Chapter 2, but I didn't see any special encounters.
I mean the Storm of Zehir expansion, where you create your whole party.
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Re: A whole bunch of ideas for KotC 2

Postby screeg » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:42 pm

Give the half-giant character a stone throwing special ability. You would have to find these large stones, not buy them, and they wouldn't stack in the inventory. The trade off is a powerful ranged attack unaffected by class, perhaps with some extra effects such as disregarding damage resistance, possible knockdown or stunning.
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