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A simple thread to suggest new skills for future games set in the Eternity sphere or elsewhere, to provide alternative routes, non combat solutions and more ways of resolving situations. Sapper/Demolitionist: As the engineer builds and provides mechanical answers to problems, so the demolitionist destroys or works around those answers. A mechanic may pick the lock on a chest, set a trap or fix a malfunctioning ancient device, the demolitionist will simply take a hammer and chisel and pop the hinges from a treasure box, take apart the trap and store the pieces, or render an ancient device incapable of operating for the opposition. The key to this trade lies in the tools, and the Sapper must carry many and be ready to replace them when they become worn or broken. The axe or hammer he uses to break down doors may need a new shaft and sharpening or heat treatment, the vial of acid he pours over delicate mechanical working must be refilled by an alchemist, the chisels he uses must be ground and re-hardened, the files constantly replaced as their knurling becomes too worn. With his tool kit in hand, his mind sharp and his patience undisturbed the cunning Sapper can remove almost any obstacle. Traditionally his greatest tool is the shovel and he will constantly carry this entrenching tool with him, especially when venturing underground. As an expert in demolition he is also invaluable when judging whether a structure is safe or near collapse, and can maybe strengthen or weaken them as appropriate. Strangely enough many Sapper's will carry songbirds underground with them, though they do not reveal why this is done, and it may be just tradition.
Obsidian has said that they are going to separate out combat and non-combat skills, so that the same resources are not spent on both. This has lead to some cheering... ...as well as some concern. The concern seems to chiefly come from those people who, at first glance, you would assume would be happy about non-combat skills getting to not be overshadowed by combat skills. I know I was. But it became clear - one cause for worry was the possibility that there'd be no way to make a more non-combat oriented character (or a more combat oriented one, for that matter.) And this makes a kind of sense - that is a possibility, that the character creation becomes so cookie cutter as to be "choose you weapon style, choose your source of power, chose your non-combat skill" generic of a template where the choices are different but the characters are essentially identical sized and shaped lollipops of different colors and flavors. Many players want to have one character a lollipop, but maybe another a tootsie pop, and mayber a third a popsicle... eh, let's abandon that metaphor. The question remains - will players be able to make a more non-combat oriented character now that you can't spend the resources put aside for combat on non-combat? Now this is potentially (in my mind likely) a non-issue - Obsidian will design a great system and we'll all love it. Unless their intent is for combat and non-combat to always play equally. And maybe that's still the problem, especially in getting to design your own character. Balance, I'd argue, is important. Any race or class or combination of such should have the same maximum potential - you don't want one class choice to be gimped as compared to another. Some RP'ers who aren't trying to "win the game at all costs" won't care that their RP choice is not the most effective on a spreadsheet via statistics. But many players will be concerned, and this should be a worry - hence balance. Again, any race or class or combination of such should have the same maximum potential... and I'd argue the same minimum potential. But there's this whole range inbetween for players to customize their character, where you can make purposeful (for challenge or for RP) "less effective" choices. And inside of this thought process I found one (of I'm sure many) potential solution to the concerns of those worried about the dividing of resources into combat and non-combat skills. (yes, here's the point I'm getting to) When creating your character, regardless of race or class, one part of your shaping process could be chosing if your character is combat oriented, skill (what I'm going to call non-combat from this point forward) oriented, or balanced. Think of this like have a choice of one of three traits at creation, a la the Fallout series. If you choose the combat oriented trait, you get fewer skill points but more combat points (however Obsidian is going to divide up those abilities). Your character is now better at fighting but less good at the not-killing-things, not-absorbing-damage. And figure your thief or mage or cleric (or whatever classes) abilities are similarly divided into "fighting abilities" and "non-fighting abilities" for the sake of this discussion. If you choose the skill orientend trait, you get more skill points but fewer combat points (basically the reverse of combat oriented.) And, clearly, chosing the balance (or maybe default or no trait) will keep the distribution of those resources at the base, normal, average level as considered in the game world and mechanics. These traits could even simply be a few of the options in a Fallout style trait mechanic overall, in fact. Well... would this solve those concerns, and would you like this idea implemented (or at least something like it)?
SO we're very early in development, but we've already heard a bit about skills in P:E so I'd like to ask everyone about their preferences. Going by what Josh Sawyer and Tim Cain have said so far they'll try to balance skills very well. They'll try to make them equal in terms of both power and opportunity. That's fine. In fact, from a professional designer's standpont that's probably what comes to mind first as an ideal. After all, you're literally selling your mechanics to the customer. If you give the player options, better make them balanced. Recently Josh made an example by giving two choices of skills (Read Ancient Poetry and Lockpicking). His point was that, if you offer the player this choice, Read Ancient Poetry should be a real viable alternative to Lockpicking. Personally, my preferences are a little different. Let's assume for this example that we're in a bit of a realistic Late Dark Ages/ Early Middle Ages setting, where locks are rather rare, and the players aren't swimming in gold. When there is a lock though, a container should usually hold something valuable. Due to this, Lockpicking should be one of the most powerful skills in the game. To balance this, different skill point costs should be attached to Lockpicking (i.e. it costs 3 points per rank), while Read Ancient Poetry should be a cheap skill to raise (costing 1 point). That way, you make it clear from the beginning that Read Ancient Poetry isn't going to pay off as much as Lockpicking. I'm not talking about totally gimping the player; practically, there MUST be instances where Ancient Poetry is useful in the game, otherwise it's bad design. However, I don't see the need to make both skills equally useful. It wouldn't make you a bad gamist if you put some points into Ancient Poetry instead of Lockpicking; it would simply make for a different and, possibly, more difficult playthrough. If you decide to spend all of your points on Ancient Poetry, this might make you a bad gamist, but a good roleplayer. Simply make the game play out realistically with this decision (in a single player game, this character might not be able to finish the game). That's not a bad thing at all. You tried a character build and it failed. It's not the designer's responsibility to make the game failproof IMO, and thereby make choices meaningless. Several skills come to mind that could be potentially very powerful but also expensive: - Alchemy - Lockpicking - Trap Disarming - Medical All of these potentially pay high dividends. Lockpicking can make you rich. Trap disarming can save your life. Alchemy produces spell-like or unique effects. Even if I don't get the chance to use them all the time, they could be v. powerful. Specializing in them (mastering them) should take serious dedication and limit your character building options accordingly. Some skills might be potentially powerful, but with some greater limitations (these cost 2 points per rank): - Sneaking - Pickpocketing - Smithing (Repair) While sneaking is useful for scouting and therefore potentially very powerful, it's not as great as it could be in a game with bottlenecks where you have to fight in the end anyway. Pickpocketing is usually only very powerful if you meta-game it (knowing which NPCs carry good items and reloading on failure). Consequences of failure are usually stark. Repair is v. useful if gold is rare or weapons get damaged in the middle of a dungeon, but potentially not as powerful if it can be done via NPCs. OTOH, cheap skills should not be as powerful, even though they might be more frequently used: - Herbalism - Heraldry - Read Ancient Poetry Herbalism could be used frequently throughout your travels, but be not very powerful on its own (it takes Alchemy to brew potions and herbs can also be bought). With their low cost these skills offer room for character diversity (even though you can also specialize in them). You will have 6 characters who can spend their non-combat skill points freely without losing combat effectiveness. So let's say there should be 6-8 skills in each of these categories to allow for some good character diversity. You get 2 or 3 skill points per level to spend on these. What I'd like to achieve that way is the following: - Party diversity. You probably won't have a specialist in all of the most powerful skills (and if you do, you'll have to completely neglect the other two categories). - Make some skills as epic as they deserve to be, not a grey mass where every skill is somewhat good and somewhat 'meh'. - Avoid certain pitfalls that come with trying to make all skills equal. (Limiting Alchemy to mimicking spell effects. Finding contrived reasons why Read Ancient Poetry is just as powerful as Lockpicking in your game.) If we look at Darklands as an example, you could choose certain professions that favored certain skills while neglecting others. Therefore, you could build a master alchemist who was brittle and bad at combat. This was offset by the fact that Alchemy was probably the most powerful skill in the game. It was also ok because it's a party based game and there one-dimensional specialist characters aren't a problem; they're only weak/ annoying in single character games or MMO's. Now in P:E, the problem of being entirely one-dimensional won't even exist because every character will be combat-able. But it would still be very nice to be able to say 'not every party will have or need a master alchemist. If you have one, that can be very helpful at certain stages in the game, but you'll have one less diverse party member'. Also, no matter how goofily you spend your non-combat skill points, it probably won't ruin your party entirely because they can still be good at combat. I'm coming exclusively from playing/ contemplating CRPGs. If you have played with systems like this or something similar, or if there's a consensus on wether it's good or bad, feel free to comment, or post your own preferences.
anubite posted a topic in Pillars of Eternity: Stories (Spoiler Warning!)I'm curious. What does everyone expect of non-combat roles? Will they be purely skill-based, or will we have statistics to raise/determine our ability with certain skills? Will they overlap with combat skills? Let's say PE uses 5 main attirbutes for combat: STR - +dmg with melee weps, increase maximum equipment weight AGI - +dmg with ranged weps, +evasion CON - max life, stamina regen rate INT - +dmg with spells, +accuracy with weapons WIS - +max mana Lets say these are all the planned non-combat abilities for PE Sense traps / Awareness Disarm Traps Lockpicking Pickpocket Persuader/Intimidator Sneak/Stealth Alchemy Metalsmithing Leatherworking Research - required to utilize certain books in the game to acquire skills or knowledge, allows you to decipher ancient texts/languages in dungeons, or something Haggling Instruction - able to teach things you know to your companions or NPCs Seduction - differs from persuader/intimidator in that you can be a very ugly but persuasive person (Hitler) Cooking First Aid Should these things scale off your primary stats? I can think of one good reason for this - simplcity. It would be easier to balance a game where there are five core stats and they determine everything. It's also easier for people to pick up and it gives all stats meaning even if you're not particuarly interested in them for class X. However, I can't help but think it's too simple. The problem with a system like this I think, is skills like intelligence and agility (or dex, whatever the final system will be) end up being necessarily to advance/take-up 80% of the skills available. To me, it seems like these skills either need to be independent and be purely feat-based (you have level 5 feat of first aid, which maybe only requires an intelligence of 8 or 10 at most to take, so long as you character level is 15 or something [where first aid 5 is max rank and level 15 is close to max level]) or they need to scale off a second set of tertiary attributes: Charisma Appearance Dexterity Academics Kinesthetics These five attribtues govern nothing about your combat-related abilities and are raised independently (but perhaps they should sometimes interact with the core attributes; ie, when you level up, maybe you can choose between having one extra core attribute point or one extra non-combat attribute point; or maybe you can sacrifice certain combat stats at character generation for more non-combat skills). The idea behind this would be that there would be some overlap. If you get a high Kinesthetics attribute, you can become adept at Metalworking, First Aid, Sneak, and Awareness. If you get a high Academics attribute, you could become adept at Metalsmithing, Alchemy, Research, and Instruction. A single non-combat attribute might also have second-tier effects, ie, if you have a very high Academics score, you can't become a master at pickpocketing, but maybe you can read a book about pickpocketing you find in a store somewhere, and acquire a low level skill for it. Maybe a dextrous person can still become very good a cooking, but not reach master level. Having a mix of mediocre dex/academics might combine to allow you to master cooking, while dex/charisma do not. What are everyone's thoughts on these ideas?
We're not sure what exactly non-combat skills are to be yet - we've got some confirmation on lockpicking, and some interesting talk about the new mechanics. Likewise, we have indication of non-combat skills being usable to avoid combat, and some information of non-combat and combat skills not relying on the same resource. I've always been a big fan of skill checks for unusual things, be it in dialog, mini-text adventures, or in obvious ways. Obsidian, from all of their games I've seen, has always been pretty innovative in this - whether it be the usefullness of appraise and survival in Storm of Zehir, or the various dialog checks in Fallout: New Vegas, not to mention some of the stuff in their infinity engine work. That said, I figured it would be interesting to find out which non-combat or more-than-combat skills everyone prefers. Clearly, D&D's skill selection lends itself to this sort of listing, but Dragon Age:Origins even had lockpicking/pickpocket and such. Clearly, these are things we'd probably also like to see in Project Eternity, but I think we can all agree they should be the ultimate judge of what skills and what uses thereof to include - despite a fondness for basketweaving. So generally: Intimidate - I like to talk people into things, and myself out of them sometimes, but prefer the "mind your own business or else, that's why" reasoning. Aside from that, the general "thieving" skills, though I admit a bias to pickpocket, and I lament how many games implement it as a fairly useless skill. The last really decent use for pickpocket was skyrim, and before that was New Vegas. (I imagine the gamebryo engine is a bit more suited for pickpocket/stealth systems). Taking into consideration PnP games, I'd have to say Use Rope is pretty high up, as well as climbing.