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Everything posted by JOG

  1. Mind-twisting idea: craftsmen want to sell their own goods, and have no use for the stinky rags you pulled of that dead bandit, even a pawnshop may only promise you a 2% discount for your next purchase in exchange for that crap. Don't base player income on selling loot, and we need no street peddlers with a bottomless purse, and we also don't need to go back to the dungeon to fetch the rest of the junk that was to heavy to carry. Two problems solved with one simple solution.
  2. If by "other things" you mean "things other than puzzles", I can't agree. It's a bold thing to say that people don't want puzzles (at least for a game like P:E), and that it's better not to have them. I mean riddle mouths like in Bards Tale, the early Wizardrys, Legend of Faerghail etc. Basically sentient wall-ornamentations that ask you riddles before they let you pass. Past warscapes fought by men long dead, and treasures lost on bloodied fields, the One God lifts his thorn-crowned head, and lays a strength on friendly Answer: shields (needs to be typed in, of course, no pre-written multiple-choice player responses back then.) Those puzzles were replaced by things the party has to do (like solving the mistery of the missing gatekeeper, or picking the lock using (gasp) the thief's lockpick skill) A great puzzle I remember from back then was the sword in the stone in Legend of Faerghail with a sign reading "The one who pulls this sword from stone will never sit on the king's throne" (only a female character can do it.) Jep. Sure you can randomize the puzzles, and I'm not against the occasional lockless puzzle-protected door, but I'm no fan of the idea of having to pick every lock myself, when my character has a lockpicking skill. Another example of puzzles going wrong it is Skyrim's dragon-claw-doors. This would have been a mind-twisting mean puzzle to remember for the ages, if there had been only one of them, and if the solution hadn't been betrayed during pre-release pomotion.
  3. Let me gently introduce a new word into the discussion: puzzle. Is a game an RPG if it has puzzles? Is it ok if said puzzles are independent of character skill? Is it ok if they factor in character skill somewhere? If lockpicking had a puzzle aspect to it, would that be ok? Would that game still be (gasp) an RPG? Puzzles are one thing, the riddle-mouths and sliding-puzzles of the early 80's mostly vanished when CRPGs got joinable NPCs and real conversations. And I don't think the genre lost much, when suddenly progress was blocked by other things than stone mouths asking questions. Of course RPGs still ought to have puzzling situations for the *player*'s mind to solve, (though in the last decade they introduced quest markers to make them not so puzzling for the casual player). A puzzle that represents a mundane act you do hundreds of time is something different than a puzzling quest or the occasional lever-puzzle, though, it's a minigame. Betryal at Krondor did it first, and those that still remember that game, certainly don't swoon over it it because of the lockpicking minigame (that actually was a puzzle)... You are going to have to learn to think before you act, but never to regret your decisions, right or wrong. Otherwise, you will slowly begin to not make decisions at all. This is why we remember the game fondly.
  4. Wasteland 2 will be turn-based combat heavy? A game similar to Fallout without all the 1950's silliness? Wow, sounds almost like a sequel to Wasteland. Now I'm relieved. What's the problem with "Torment" anyway, Obsidian already had a go at the storytelling premise that each partymember is tormented in some way and their paths to salvation overlap with the PC's. MotB did a great job, but was a bit short and based on a rather average base campaign (also by Obsidian) And as the panda said, who says that Avellone won't join, just like PE had "George Zeits for proper lore design" as stretch goal.
  5. The player's job in a rpg is to choose the character's stats reasonably, so that the character *can* pick a lock when the player want's him to do so. It's like in the business world, the boss doesn't need to know anything about engineering, his job is to hire a competent engineer.
  6. Every P&P setting has a certain character level where the characters are supposed to retire and become NPCs. High level campaigns are supposed to be epic events that shake the whole gameworld, and as such they need to be rare, otherwise one could begin to wonder why the epic hordes of doom haven't conquered the world a couple of weeks ago when the heroes were still preparing to solve the local inkeeper's rat problem. I'd rather have a slow pace like in the Realms of Arcania series or the old SSI Gold box games, than a campain where you can't play half an hour without leveling up. At some point it simply gets ridiculous. When there are half a dozen of liches, a beholder-city and a mindflayer-base all within one city, one has to wonder how that city could survive before <charname> arrived. If your think your BG or NWN2 characters were epic, look at these Ioulaum, undead elder brain (human, "died" aged 2900) the mastermind behind ancient Netheril, creator of the Alhoon, current age 4600. Level 41 Larloch, lich (human, "died" aged 300) the only Wizard permitted to cast 11th level spells at will. One of the few liches who survived the Spellplaque, current age 2000, Level 31 Elminster, human, chosen and occasionally lover of the goddess of magic. current age 1100, Level 26 Compared to the true epic characters of the setting, our 18 year old level 50 characters that travelled the world for almost half a year, are just silly.
  7. Actually, most developers are amateurs when it comes to proper weapon design and combat techniques, even in the movies you rarely see a police officer or soldier handling his gun properly (in accordance with standard safety rules). For archaic weapons it's even worse, I've rarely seen a movie, let alone a game, where they actually used a sword-pommel for pommeling, instead the dagger, (short-)sword and longsword (aka 1½-hander) are all used for fencing as if they were rapiers. That said, given the perspective and on-screen size of the combatants in PE, I don't think the game will gain much from realistic motion-captured animations.
  8. Great Idea. Computer games too often have us constantly replace equipment, a weapon is a classic trademark, where others use .32 colts shotguns or SMGs, dependend on the threat they face, the true badass always sticks to "the most powerful handgun in the world".
  9. As long as there is a distinction between a pure mage, mage with sword, a warrior with magic and a pure warrior, I'm fine. It didn't really make much sense in D&D that a mage couldn't use swords because he spent half his life training magic, but a smart warrior could dual-class into a mage without too much effort. It also depends on the nature of magic/mages. Is it an applied science that indeed needs a lot of learning and practice (and causes metal allergy) or is it an innate ability and it depends on the characters training whether he becomes a professional spellcaster or a magic-supported warrior (Jedi, Witcher)
  10. You mean a special menu for resting? For me, the most desireable function would be assign guard - meaning you could be ambushed in sleep if you have none. Otherwise I don't think we need special camping functions, rather have random cutscenes, the dwarf bantering with the elf, everyone listening to one guy playing the flute, a NPC-couple vanishing in the bushes, etc. Talking is supposed to be possible everywhere, and repairing, tending to wounds, eating and going to the loo should happen automatically and shouldn't require player input. As I wrote, I'd rather have just enough available party members to fill the party than dozens of applicants and an artificial mechanic that requires me to travel with all of them for a while. To take another Obsidian game: Elanee in NWN2 is the prime example of an NPC that follows you because the designers want you to tag her along, a creepy stalker who suddenly shows up and expects you to trust her. Later we meet Casavir, since he's the Fem-PC love interest we're forced to adventure with him and need to kick out one of our comrades. Why not use him as 5th party member like it was done with Shandra later? If a NPC is required for a quest, give him his own party spot, don't expect me to kick out party members. A Yoshi-Imoen swap can't be done everytime a new NPC needs to be added to the party, and even that stunt didn't work for me the first time, as I took Jan instead of Yoshi.
  11. None at all. Even with a party camp you usually use your core-party. In a role playing game you rarely select squad members dependent on their specialisation. Ideally you choose the companions *you* or your character like. Outside a military / mercenary setup where the main character is the commander who deploys his squad members for the mission ahead, it makes no sense that people you obviously don't consider friends or companions still follow you. Yes, there might be a stalker NPC who simply follows you, because he/she is enamoured with the main character (or simply a pesky fan), but any person with a little bit of self-esteem won't just follow you, or wait at your place, so that they are available should you ever have need of them. Regardless of whether you are on friendly terms or not, they should go to the place of *their* choosing, and *you* should have visit them if you want their company. Of course this can be made a bit flexible, the rogue and the dwarf may coincidentally always be found half drunk in the most seediest tavern of the town you just entered, and a dear friend/spouse/relative like Imoen actually may decide to wait at *your* place. That's fine for me, as long as they don't behave like good little soldiers and wait at the place you chose for them until you assign them to their next mission.
  12. Less is more when it comes up to party members. When NPCs have more character than "the mage" or "the rogue" then the NPCs won't be "obsolete" just because the player picked the same class for the main character. Part of that problem is the tactical role=function mindset, where every party needs a fighter a mage a thief and a healer. I prefer the narrative role=character approach, where a story about a bunch of guys is told. When a game has solutions for every class (or uses no class-exclusive skills to advance quests) then a more natural party setup like a squad of fighters, a band of thieves, or a group of scholars or pilgrims would work just as fine as a well-mixed party. What I hate is a party-member hangout, where a bunch of party-members for all player tastes follows you along your clandestine mission around the country, waits in your base, or squats in your spaceship. If you don't like them, why should you tolerate them in your place, and why should they even follow you? BG(2) did it right: non-party-partymembers will stay behind and if you want them back, some will happily come along, others need to be bribed and others will still be upset. Maybe there could be free spots reserved for quest-related NPCs, so you could go and rescue Imoen, without having to take Yoshimo with you or leaving one party member behind in the midst of a hostile dungeon.
  13. First of all they create a new set of rules specifically for the game so they ought to follow it. Never had any weapons issues in the IE games either, a fighter had tons of weapon profiency points, so you were free to use whatever setup you prefered, and frankly dual wielding was far superior to two-handed. As for weapon damage, a greatsword is a versatile polearm while the flick-knife is a brawling-distance cutting and stabbing weapon. If you ever witnessed a knife-fight, you'll know that it's rarely one stabbing the other, let alone fencing, the combatants cut each other until they drop from shock and blood loss, the victor is the one who stood longer. The Greatsword was designed to scythe away spears (to make place for the own infantry) and topple enemy riders. To kill the dismounted rider in heavy armor the warrior would then grab his greatsword by the blade and hit the knight with the cross-guard as if he were using a pick-axe. IRL you don't need to drain someone of all his blood to take him out of a fight. The knife fighter with several cuts and the dismounted knight with a dislocated shoulder from the fall and one or two stabbing wounds from the greatsword's guard will both fade away from shock, and die, if they don't get medical attention. Problem is, injury realism is hard to translate into interesting gameplay, and proper weapon usage (techniques, side-arms for close quarter combat etc.) would take a lot of work, and may be very confusing even to players that know how the weapons actually were used in combat; So we need other ways to distinguish the weapons, easiest by damage done, more complex by very similar base damage and much difference in the available special maneuvers (see the Drakensang games for a good example)
  14. The Francisca (a throwing axe) was such a cultural weapon, like the flintlock pistol much later it was a ranged weapon that allowed melee combatants to attack on range, effectively confusing the enemy by blurring the distinction between ranged and melee combatants. It was so distinctive at that time that the weapon was named after its users (the Franks). The English Longbow is another such weapon, here it was more of a state secret than a cultural thing, not every english soldier was a longbowman, but you would have a hard time to find non-english longbowmen for a very long time. But those are exceptions, boomerang, net and spear etc. wouldn't work well in a military scenario, and mixing weapons from vastly different cultures really only works in D&D. The fight between a samurai and an european knight will be over the first time their blades meet. The Samurai isn't trained in fencing, and his sword is made for quick cutting trough wooden armor and bone. The knight's sword is made by a culture that has quality metal in abundance, where even the average infantryman has his leather armor and shield reinforced with iron. The european longsword is designed for cleaving, not cutting, it is used to parry hammers and axes and break other swords. Using it against a Katana is like treating a razor blade with a can-opener.
  15. Actually a thieves guild works exactly like any medieval age craftsman guild: control market and competition and maintain a reputation. It's not a simple social club and also not primarly about getting jobs or education, it's about control: If you wanted to do business in your craft you joined the guild and obeyed their rules or were beaten out of the city. The Thieves' Guild is about the only form of guild that is still existing today. We call it mafia, or on a smaller scale gang, and they may call themselves by other names, but in their core they do the same any guild did. The word "mafia" is an invention of the italian media in the 19th century, the organisations call themselves "cosa nostra" (our cause) or "Bratwa" (brotherhood) or "Ya-Ku-Za" (8-9-3 - worst hand in a card game => the worst of society) So yes, IMO a thieves guild makes a lot of sense, as long as they don't neccessary call themselves the "Thieves Guild" and as long as the main benefit for joining is staying alive.
  16. I liked the inventory system of The Witcher: - You could wear only one armor, and a couple of weapons (two swords on the back, a spare sword on the hip, two daggers on the thigh) - There were two separate space-limited inventories for alchemy ingredients and misc items - Inns served as a wormhole storage - what you stored in one in you could retrieve in another inn. Loot that wasn't looted usually vanished as soon as you left the area or even just entered a building, and the mechanic worked well, as loot wasn't your main source of income. IMO the always available unlimited space approach is the worst solution to the loot-trips problem. Selling all those torn armors and rusty swords usually breaks the game's economy: the game depicts a certain sum to be a fortune for a simple peddler and you earn it within a few hours with a couple of trips to the sewers, selling your loot to those peddlers.
  17. What Tagaziel said. If the character speaks in an old-fashioned dialect (e.g. ghosts or liches, or other very very old "people" that didn't bother to mingle with modern society), use middle english, if the character speaks street slang use a medieval cant, not hip-hop speak. Otherwise use "modern english" (maybe british for nobles?) Ultima used middle-english, yes, but the whole idea was that the protagonist is a human from modern Earth who stranded in that parallel world.
  18. No. Recent RPGs included so many elements from other genres that there was less and less place for elements from the RPG genre. If we want to play an RPG like they used to be, we have to look at the indie scene or try and crowdfund one. You want a Faction vs. Faction combat? This battle is going on right here. Diversity vs. Unity. There once were countless genre, right now there are two main genres: shooter and social online game, which can be divided into action-shooter, stealth/talk shooter, play-pretend online game and strategic online game. The main variation is the technology level ingame. The games recently funded on kickstarter are like the last stand of their respective genres and came about because neither the players nor the designers want to accept that "their" genres are no longer in demand. Adding stuff from other genres is counter productive when you want to prove that your own genre is still viable.
  19. I always found it strange that lore helps you to identify random items. Artifacts of legend yes, but where have you ever heard about that contemporary magic sword or that amulet from another world? The lore skill's main application is social contacts: appropriate manners of the place your're in, and the people you meet. Matters of courtesy in different cultures also knowledge of history and folk stories and how they affect daily life. It allows you to fit into other societies (like a thief disguising as noble or a diplomat in a foreign country) and the understanding of historic backgrounds may help you to identify ancient writings, find secret doors, or recognize those strange bowls of fruit as offerings the tribal people make to terrible monsters. Being able to identify the long-lost sword of Hrotgar Dragonbane because it's a very recognizable piece of ancient weaponcraft, and described in many old tales would be a nice side effect, if you find a newly forged mithral broadsword +1 / +5 vs dragons, though, you should only be able to identify the metal and the shape of the sword, and may be deduce that a dwarven craftsman (mithral) made it for a barbarian (broadsword) and that it's most likely of sentimental value, but unless there is some engraving describing the blade's purpose, lore won't be of much help to identify the enchantment.
  20. That argument would work if healing potions actually were valuable (only a dozen or so in the whole game, or an insanely high price and a working economy where you actually want to buy stuff, instead of looting and crafting it, and money would be so scarce that you need to decide what to buy with it) Avoiding battle could have long-term consequences, like the elves not dealing with you because they were killed by orcs, or found out you befriended them, but seeking battle should have long-term consequences as well. In real life and P&P such consequences include injury and death, nobody fears them in computer games anymore. In BG, if one character died, you had to decide whether to reload or to haul the dead character to the next temple and pay 1000g. In Fallout they were gone for good, unless you reloaded. In today's games they jump to their feet right after the last enemy died and are restored to full health within a few minutes. Another price to pay for seeking the thrill of combat (in character) and lots of extra XP (out of character) could be the reputation you build up. When your party is well known to wade knee deep in the guts of everything that dared to stand in their way, they obviously won't be the right types for a diplomatic mission, of course a bunch of cowards who avoid all fights won't be the right choice for a seek-and-destroy mission behind the frontline.
  21. In P&P you usually do XP at the end of the session, it's left to the DM's discretion whether he simply gives the XP worth of slain opponents or gives XP for good roleplaying. When XP is given to each character separately, and combat XP is determined by damage done or critters killed, then the scout and the healer who didn't do much during combat but were essential before and after will come off badly. This also effects class roles: In most fantasy books and P&P groups the rogue gets the most of his spotlight outside combat, and more often than not stays in the background during combat. His job was clearing the traps on the way to the encounter, spot the enemy and tell the group so they could prepare, now he stays back for "rear cover", keeping one eye open for enemy reinforcements and hidden spellcasters and the other on the cute healer's chest. After all, someone needs to make sure that she is ready to patch up the survivors when combat is done. In computer games the rogue became the dual wielding DPS fighter who is in constant competition with the claymore swinging weapon master, and the healer is dispensable because after combat the fallen wake up automatically and HP regenerate anyway. (Yes, I know there is no healing magic in PE, so let's call her a medic.) As for the "combat experience" most characters are only so eager to fight, because their *players* know that they can reload and try that battle time and again. In a hardcore-scenario with fixed safepoints or no reload at all, we'd think twice whether that combat is actually worth it, and that's the crux - in a tactics / strategy game the main gameplay element should obviously be combat, but in a role playing game, 95% of the characters would avoid unneccessary fights if they had a say in that matter, because the characters that live within the game world know nothing about XP. A party that was hired to kill the dragon will do so and get XP, whether that XP is given for reducing the dragon to 0 HP, or for completing the dragon-slayer quest is irrelevant. If the party was hired to rescue the virgin, on the other hand, the dragon-hating paladin should have a hard time convincing the rest of the party to actually challenge the beast, when the girl can be freed without a fight. Of course the rogue may mess it up by trying to steal the dragon's hoard, and they may still get into a fight; but even then, the experience of fighting a dragon and the experience of filching a dragon's dinner (and hoard) right under its nose, should balance each other.
  22. Enough fatalities? Good then let's again concentrate on story.
  23. Music can do much more for atmosphere than nifty graphics and voice-out, I still catch myself humming the from Ultima 7 now and then, just like from Ultima 5/6 and of course , let's not forget the , joining the Britannia and Gargoyle theme, a masterpiece in its own right, and a worthy conclusion of your 200+ hours quest to end this war. For me, when it comes to storytelling and atmosphere, Ultima 5 - 7.2 are still the measuring stick for any other (western) RPG. The BG series is a close followup but still doesn't play in the same league. PS:T almost made it there as well, just missing the music to compliment the storytelling. After these 7 games and their addons there is a large gap where each and every japanese RPG fits in before the rest of the western RPGs catch up. Heck, for ol' times' sake: Enough elder-school ranting for now (What? Bleary eyes? No that's just strain from staring at the monitor...) What I also love in soundtracks is variations, like most Star Wars songs having some elements of the main theme, or the Variations of "Call of Magic" in Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim.
  24. How about a real translation in a rare real life language (any Irish reading this, feel free to correct me). "seachain an oiche" seachain = avoid / beware of an = the oiche = night The text would have several translations of different qualities, and the skill would decide which is displayed along with the original text. Since different languages don't just exchange words, the worst translation would be completely misleading (like "yes, tax now together" - 'sea chain anois cheile) So the player would be able to learn the language and act accordingly ignoring character skill and learning something for real-life as well.
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