KoTC2 thoughts

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KoTC2 thoughts

Postby Ikarius » Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:47 am

I adored KotC 1, and I saw this brewing, so I figured I'd post some thoughts.

1. I see Bluesalamander's got it in his mind to support modules. One nice thought would be to save skill/feat snapshots of each level of a character's development, and if a character was level 8 and the module was designed to for levels 4-12, a player could have the option to import the level 4 version of their character to the module.

2. New classes. Ahh, here I've got a lot to say. DnD has some serious weaknesses. For the lower levels (anything under level 12), it is VERY hard to come up with classes which reasonably replace the 4 primary classes; fighter, wizard, cleric, thief. Let's look at some of the alternate classes;
Barbarian - This one is the most suitable for subbing in for one of the 4 primaries. Gives up wearing heavy armor and a LOT of feats in exchange for more hit points, better damage output, and (sometimes) additional movement. Mechanically though, this is a fighter with fewer options.
Sorcerer - Also reasonable to sub in, in exchange for a wizard, especially in a CRPG. Limited spell selection in exchange for more casts per day. Also gives up a number of feats compared to wizard counterpart. Mechanically, however, VERY similar to wizard.
Monk - Interesting flavor, okay fighter once he gets to a certain level, but damage cannot begin to match 2h weapon specialist. For quite a number of levels, HP and AC simply not suitable to replace fighter.
Druid - One of my favourite classes, but who do you replace? Would you give up fireball? Would you give up spontaneous healing? Fantastic class to add to a party, IF you have the fundamentals already covered, due to the fact that druids have so many interesting options.
Bard - Interesting class, does many things, but past 8th level, simply looses out on the power curve compared to every other class.
Ranger - Decent fighter, decent flavor, but not really suitable to replace a pure fighter.
Rogue - Sigh. One of the primary classes, yet very disappointing. Fulfills required social skills and trap/lock handling, but in combat, is VERY weak if not fighting monsters susceptible to sneak attack.

Multiclassing is even uglier. To match the power level of the fundamental classes, multiclassing is generally a bad idea until 8th or 9th level. Prestige classes are pretty messy too; if you're a caster (cleric, wizard, sorcerer), any prestige class which does not provide full spellcasting progression is usually a terrible idea, and any prestige class which provides full spellcasting progression is usually overpowered. Most of the multiclass builds have serious "dry spells" where they are underpowered, and many end up as "one trick pony" builds, where they have one horrifically overpowered talent.

So, how to overcome this? In a tactical combat focused CRPG, rogue is no longer one of the primaries. Fair enough. I'm not certain that additional classes truly need to be added. I think your best route would be to peruse prestige and secondary class features and re-do them as feats. Then add more feats to the base classes (aside from fighter). Clerics especially, and possibly arcane casters could use more feats to allow for more variation in builds. If you went this route, you could end up with a lot more interesting variation, and I think it would be slightly less complex than adding additional classes & prestige classes. Don't be afraid to change the character power level, as what you're building here is not DnD- it's a tactical fighting game which simply utilizes the same underlying system which DnD uses, and DnD's power levels weren't terribly well balanced to begin with. If the resulting characters end up more powerful, the monsters can be tuned up to match. A key feature in my mind would be providing more interesting character development choices, which would lead to better replayability.

3. New items? One of the things I like the least about DnD is the original design of magic items & wealth curve. Going strictly by the original book & items is terribly terribly boring. At a given character level, unless your GM has seen fit to grant you more wealth than the standard, your best choices in magical items are horrifyingly boring. A +2 or +4 bonus for your primary stat; a +1 or +2 weapon, A cloak of resistance, enchant your armor to +2, perhaps an amulet of natural armor and you're done. For many years, this was "how it was". Not only did your wealth limit your options, but because the standard bonuses came on specific slots, you were seriously limited on choices for magical items which were more flavorful and interesting. The Magic Item Compendium, one of the last books published for the 3.5 system changed that. There are many MANY interesting items & effects, many with reasonable prices, and there's a system for adding "standard" effects (e.g. stat bonus, resistance bonus, etc) to the interesting magical items. Please take a look at this for inspiration on how to expand the options on itemization!

I think going to 5 party members would be fun as it would allow for a bit more diversity while hopefully not slowing combats down too much.

Those are some initial thoughts. I'm really looking forward to seeing KotC 2, and what you do for it, as I adore KotC 1. If you're interested, I can look through some of the classes and prestige classes for some of the more intriguing options.

Cheers
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KoTC2 thoughts

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Re: KoTC2 thoughts

Postby BlueSalamander » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:33 pm

I see Bluesalamander's got it in his mind to support modules. One nice thought would be to save skill/feat snapshots of each level of a character's development, and if a character was level 8 and the module was designed to for levels 4-12, a player could have the option to import the level 4 version of their character to the module.
It's a good idea that was mentioned once before. However it raises the question of what to do with that character's possessions. I'm thinking that maybe a character should not be able to carry over his belongings from one module to the next. Instead he would start a module with equipment appropriate for his level and proficiencies. That way if a module hands out a +6 longsword of destruction to a level-6 figher, it won't ruin the difficulty in the next module.

New classes. Ahh, here I've got a lot to say. DnD has some serious weaknesses.
I'm still working on class design. It's difficult because I need to define their spells and feats as well as the class abilities. There's a lot of good inspirational material out there, but a lot of it is overpowered, like Pathfinder. I'll post the classes when I have them all well defined.

Multiclassing is even uglier. To match the power level of the fundamental classes, multiclassing is generally a bad idea until 8th or 9th level. Prestige classes are pretty messy too
Yeah. I don't want to allow Prestige classes or multiclassing.

add more feats to the base classes (aside from fighter). Clerics especially
Clerics will have a bit more variety through the selection of a domain power. By the way: should a cleric, or any class, have two good saves? (Fort and Will) Balance-wise I don't see why they should. But then if I change the saves players will have less familiarity with the rules.

The Magic Item Compendium, one of the last books published for the 3.5 system changed that. There are many MANY interesting items & effects, many with reasonable prices, and there's a system for adding "standard" effects (e.g. stat bonus, resistance bonus, etc) to the interesting magical items. Please take a look at this for inspiration on how to expand the options on itemization!
Thank you, I will have a look.

If you're interested, I can look through some of the classes and prestige classes for some of the more intriguing options.
Sure, if you spot something interesting feel free to mention it here. But it's got to be computerizable :-)
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Re: KoTC2 thoughts

Postby Ikarius » Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:09 pm

On equipment; I'd be inclined to wipe equipment on module import as you are, but I think I'd have a module flag which could either allow or disallow equipment import. Let module authors decide.

I'd also be highly inclined to move crafting out of feats and on to NPC vendors. Create a weapon crafter, a magic item crafter, etc, and let people drop them into their modules. I'd do this because as it stands, basically everyone takes the crafting feats. I'd prefer to have enough useful tactical feats that people would not want to take crafting feats.

Last item, I'd probably simply grant the imported characters an amount of gold to spend, rather than going through the process of figuring out which items are most appropriate to the incoming level. No need to write code to go through their feats and see that the fighter is longsword-specialized, simply give the player cash and let him make the decisions about equipment to buy. This would go hand in hand with crafting merchants, so they could have enough gold to buy a +2 flaming longsword. Again, this would be a good default, but hooks for modules to handle this their own way would be nice.

On power level; I'd be very inclined to ignore the DnD power levels. KoTC is not DnD. Start with implementations of the 3 core classes- fighter, arcane caster, divine caster, and then add feats which provide interesting tactical options, which may have previously been "class features" from prestige classes or alternate classes. The power level of player characters is nearly certain to go up, but that's OK, because the encounters can be made more difficult. It also makes it a little less obnoxious to add things like limiting resting, restricting wand creation/use, etc.

On your question about 2 good saves for the divine caster, I don't know. That would probably be one of the last things I would examine. The only immediate reaction I have is that you *really* don't want your healer taken down by a single spell early in a combat. If your healer is still active, you can potentially undo various nasty spells that enemies have cast on your other party members.

I posted a separate post with a few prestige classes which have class features that I think would be intriguing to convert to feats. I can go a bit more into detail when I get some more time.
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Re: KoTC2 thoughts

Postby VentilatorOfDoom » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:49 pm

You mean, if I want a fighter/mage there will be a feat I could take that changes my AB progression from low to medium, for example? And a second one from medium to high? Hmmm. Nice.
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Re: KoTC2 thoughts

Postby BlueSalamander » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:43 am

I'd have a module flag which could either allow or disallow equipment import. Let module authors decide.
If it's allowed to import the equipment, what happens when you decrease the character level? And what if you want to play a module that disallows equipment import, you play through, get new equipment, then next you want to play a module that allows equipment import, what equipment do you get? The one from the last module or the one you had before playing the last module :?

Create a weapon crafter, a magic item crafter, etc, and let people drop them into their modules.
Interesting idea but it's much simpler technically to not allow the improvement of weapons. Meaning you'd have to find good weapons or buy them from a trader (from a limited selection).

I'd probably simply grant the imported characters an amount of gold to spend
Yes this sounds good. It might in fact require more code than just going through the feats and finding out what's good for a character. It also requires a list of the things you'd be allowed to buy at each level.

I'd be very inclined to ignore the DnD power levels. KoTC is not DnD. Start with implementations of the 3 core classes- fighter, arcane caster, divine caster, and then add feats which provide interesting tactical options, which may have previously been "class features"
Yeah it's an idea but I prefer the standard use of classes and not go too crazy on what a character can become just by taking feats. Regarding the power level of characters, keeping it close to what it was in the SRD 3.5 means we can use the original Challenge Rating of monsters and also recreate certain encounters found in pen and paper modules without a lot of adjustment.

you *really* don't want your healer taken down by a single spell early in a combat.
Better stick to the SRD saves then.
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Re: KoTC2 thoughts

Postby MonkeyLancer » Sun Sep 05, 2010 7:13 pm

Wouldn't it be ideal if the module decides if a party's equipment goes from module to module (IMO it would be odd if someone made a sequel to a module and they didn't bring their stuff), or if they are stripped of gear or it is converted to gold? The idea of decreasing a character's level between modules seems more complicated than it is worth, personally.

Thinking about it I was curious if you intended on importing entire parties or individual characters?
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Re: KoTC2 thoughts

Postby BlueSalamander » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:53 pm

MonkeyLancer wrote:Thinking about it I was curious if you intended on importing entire parties or individual characters?
Individual characters, because when starting a new module you may want to alter your character selection and use a slightly different party.
Wouldn't it be ideal if the module decides if a party's equipment goes from module to module (IMO it would be odd if someone made a sequel to a module and they didn't bring their stuff), or if they are stripped of gear or it is converted to gold? The idea of decreasing a character's level between modules seems more complicated than it is worth, personally.
Well, I don't know what's the best idea. If there's no level decreasing, at least there should be level increasing, so that if you don't have available characters of a high enough level for a given module, you can still create new characters and level them up (as in Neverwinter Nights). Regarding equipment, I'm not sure. If some modules allow to keep the equipment, while others just wipe it out, then players might decide to only play those modules that will preserve their equipment. :?:
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Re: KoTC2 thoughts

Postby BlueSalamander » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:37 am

I thought about it some more and then I had the illumination :idea: :

* The standard approach should be that modules import individual characters without their equipment. Characters then purchase basic equipment appropriate for their level at the start of the module, with a standard amount of gold that depends on their level.

But

* A module in a chain of modules (e.g. Queen of the Spiders I, II and III) should also allow to import an entire saved game, provided that the saved game comes from the precedent module in the chain and has been marked as 'completed'.
Then the characters would come with the equipment they had at the end of the precedent module.
This also means that modules in a chain should have roughly the same item list (so that items are recognised when transferred from a module to the other).
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Re: KoTC2 thoughts

Postby MonkeyLancer » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:59 am

You're a clever one, that works pretty well. :D
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Re: KoTC2 thoughts

Postby Marinx » Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:30 pm

A module in a chain of modules (e.g. Queen of the Spiders I, II and III) should also allow to import an entire saved game, provided that the saved game comes from the precedent module in the chain and has been marked as 'completed'.
Then the characters would come with the equipment they had at the end of the precedent module.
This also means that modules in a chain should have roughly the same item list (so that items are recognised when transferred from a module to the other).


Just like in Baldur's Gate :mrgreen: Good thinking ;)
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