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Fair and 'Guiling Copesmate Death?: Death Mechanics in Project Eternity

death companion death mechanics project eternity trial of iron difficulty

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Poll: Death Systems (214 member(s) have cast votes)

Which death systems do you like?

  1. Baldur's Gate style: If the PC dies, game over. (90 votes [36.59%])

    Percentage of vote: 36.59%

  2. Icewind Dale style: Game ends when your whole party dies. People do not auto-revive. (106 votes [43.09%])

    Percentage of vote: 43.09%

  3. Star Wars KotOR style: Game ends when your whole party dies. Companions revive post-combat. (45 votes [18.29%])

    Percentage of vote: 18.29%

  4. Other (post and describe). (5 votes [2.03%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.03%

What is your opinion on Companion Death

  1. BG style: Companions can be permanently killed in combat. (119 votes [37.07%])

    Percentage of vote: 37.07%

  2. IWD style: Companions can never be permanently killed but require some sort of magic to revive. (78 votes [24.30%])

    Percentage of vote: 24.30%

  3. KotOR style: Companions can never be killed. (20 votes [6.23%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.23%

  4. Companions can be killed as a story plot (102 votes [31.78%])

    Percentage of vote: 31.78%

  5. Other (post and describe) (2 votes [0.62%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.62%

Do you want companion death to be as a consequence of combat or dialogue choices

  1. Combat, I like the Baldur's Gate style (53 votes [17.49%])

    Percentage of vote: 17.49%

  2. Dialogue choices, I want companion death to be tied to the choice and consequence of the game (62 votes [20.46%])

    Percentage of vote: 20.46%

  3. Permanent Death should have a place in P:E in both combat and plot-related consequences (119 votes [39.27%])

    Percentage of vote: 39.27%

  4. Permanent Death should have a place in P:E but only story/consequence related (60 votes [19.80%])

    Percentage of vote: 19.80%

  5. There should be no Permanent Death in P:E (9 votes [2.97%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.97%

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#21
Lagole Gon

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Rare permadeaths. Deaths a little bit more forgiving than BG. For example, negative HP mechanics depending on attributes.

Edited by Lagole Gon, 27 September 2012 - 08:46 AM.


#22
Lysen

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Permanent death means that the player can actually fail, that there is no hand-holding. It isn't fun to play a game where you cannot fail.
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#23
Sylvius the Mad

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For death, I like the Baldur's Gate approach. If you're dead, you're dead. You don't get back up again without some sort of extreme intervention.

But I didn't like how BG handled PC death. I understand why it did, but it diminished the game somewhat. I'd like to see the party be able to carry on even if the PC is dead.

#24
wanderon

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I like the concept of real death with options for reversing it over the Knocked out/wake up and be back to normal in 5 seconds method and I'm not fond of the idea of treating PC death differently than NPC death in a party based atmosphere.

As long as someone in the party lives to jump through whatever hoops are provided to raise the PC and/or others I don't want to see the game over screen.

For PE it looks like we might see different death options depending on difficulty mode chosen and I like that concept.

#25
The Guilty Party

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It seems like permadeath of companions would be something tied to one of the optional difficulty modes. Because I can see the appeal of the *option* to say 'I've played this game a dozen times, so this time through the game, if someone dies, they're dead. It will spice things up.' If the game auto-rezes your characters, you literally can't do that and that sucks.

But personally, in normal gameplay, if a companion bites it permanently, it's reload time.

#26
RosesandAshes

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I don't like the idea of permadeath in combat, but as part of the story (especially if I don't pick the right options) is fine.
I would support it being implemented in harder difficulty modes, for sure.

#27
Chippy

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I play the ironman mode in every RPG I play - it's a logic thing; games all agree that when you loose all HP you die. If HP was handled in a different manner I would change my perspective - I distantly remember someone from either Blackisle or Bioware once comparing HP to the amount of times you avoid a killing blow, then the last blow kills the character when they suffer more damage than remaining HP.

So the only thing that would make me change my ironman mode ways if HP was handled differently - like minor wounds that reduce your health, then major effects that can take a player out of the fight (broken arm/leg, etc) to instant death scenarios like a dragon belly flops on your face...even if Sten in DA:O had the indomitable ablility!...an ENTIRE dragon just landed on him.

If the combat and magic system is half as interesting as I think it will be this isn't a major deal for me and traditional HP still works. I'd rather more content in a stetch goal than changes in the rules system that require an enormous amount of work. But looking into what actually causes death would be cool.

#28
Amentep

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I play the ironman mode in every RPG I play - it's a logic thing; games all agree that when you loose all HP you die. If HP was handled in a different manner I would change my perspective - I distantly remember someone from either Blackisle or Bioware once comparing HP to the amount of times you avoid a killing blow, then the last blow kills the character when they suffer more damage than remaining HP.

So the only thing that would make me change my ironman mode ways if HP was handled differently - like minor wounds that reduce your health, then major effects that can take a player out of the fight (broken arm/leg, etc) to instant death scenarios like a dragon belly flops on your face...even if Sten in DA:O had the indomitable ablility!...an ENTIRE dragon just landed on him.

If the combat and magic system is half as interesting as I think it will be this isn't a major deal for me and traditional HP still works. I'd rather more content in a stetch goal than changes in the rules system that require an enormous amount of work. But looking into what actually causes death would be cool.


I've always thought it might be neat to see a system that treats the typical "HP" bar as something more akin to a 'hit avoidance" bar (HA) factoring the ability to dodge, parry, block and absorb blows with armor. This bar grows with experience, better skills and better equipment.

Then there is a HP bar that rarely changes and represents injuries. When "hit avoidance" is exhausted, a blow goes to HP and any character could easily get killed in one final blow. HP bar goes down and only comes back with magical healing or days of rest. Maybe with certain % damage there has to be major or minor injuries. HA Bar goes down and it can improve back fairly rapidly (reflecting getting ones wind back) and repairing damaged equipment.

Probably a bit more complicated than what anyone would really want though. So I just always see HP as an abstraction for not being stabbed in the gut or something until you run out, and then you are stabbed in the gut.

#29
Sabin Stargem

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No permenant death, that forces me as the player to reload in order to get at the story-related content of the game. Doing it KOTOR and Pokemon style is best in my opinion, as the game is testing you on your ability to win battles, not your willingness to ignore the story.

#30
Adhin

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As for the first selection of which type, i choose other. I want PnP style death systems. BG has part of it but lacks the part that stops it from being a crap-fest of irritation. KotOR simplifed that part to the point of lacking in any real consequence for a fail state other then them all being wiped. DAO kind of added a penalty which was nice (but overly easy to remove in mass abundance).

So.. here's basically what I want. I don't want instant death. Outside of being stabbed in the heart, brain or generally being decapicated, most folks don't instantly die in battle and it's been that way since people started stabbing eachother. It's how wars are now, it's how they where in Medieval times. I mean once you add actual full on armor, battles where long, drawn out fights where fetigue often set in and you usally died cause you where on the ground and a dude finished you off. Which is close to the kinda scenarios DnD and PE take place in (everyone having access to Plate Armor).

So, a bleed out, or fetigue where you go unconcious. I don't care if you bleed out, or if you don't or if its basedo ff the kind of damage you took when you passed out from HP hitting 0. but DnD you got a bleed out, each round you take 1 dmg once you hit 0 and have a chance of stabilizing, few feats based around alwways stabilizing as long as you have a companion alive or thea bility to remain concious and butt-slide your way out of danger or whatever. So I'd like to see an analog to that, which is what KotOR's was, ultimately (minus the bleed out). I think faster regening health outside of combat is a good one for non-hard modes but the hardcore more realistic stuff should cut that (except of course regen item/talents). Anyone who was downed to unconcious and gets back up should have some kind of disability.. limit that to some extent in easier modes but crank it up for harder difficulties settings.

Ideally the idea is instead of straight up dying (since that, in most cases, makes less sense) you go unconsious and a healer type could stabilitize and maybe get you back up into walking condition in the next 5 seconds. Fights over, the unconcious get up after a bit and in either case once you've been knocked into that state you have some kind of heavily disability.. preferably based off the kind of dmg you took. I think this kind of system can allow for a no-resurrection system style game. Though having that as a NON-PLAYER ability and allowing downed enemies to be finished off entirely making it so you have to either A, leave em, or B to pay to get the process to get them revived would be nice.

In fact, I think resurrection based stuff should be an ordeal (but should also be hard in general to have happen to you). It's either costly in coin or in resources of some other kind and requires more then 1 person knowledgable in said ritual to the point of the player not being able to do it them selves. Some kind of Priest organization, for instance, being able to 'return the soul' to the body but it requires a small group of the priests and some special item or focus or something (along with a fea for the service).

The idea, ultimately, is to make it a bit more fair like PnP is. cRPG have a tendency to be to binary in that, sadly, and just kinda go all or nothing. Which, harsh or not, make a hell of a lot less sense then the PnP variant.

-edit-
ADnD was kinda an odd one too when ya look at it. Looks like 3rd edition and 1st edition both used the 0 to -10 as a bleed out unconcious state, ADnD base was 0 = death straight (makes no sense comparitively) and just had a note to the 1st edition death rules as a 'or use this instead'. Either way 0 equalling straight death makes little sense to me. Then again using health as purely an avoidance measure (which its described, again, in dnd as not avoidance) I just think is bizar. People don't instantly die from a cut, you can get slashed across the chest and survive for extremely long times, your blood will often clot well before you bleed out and if you DO die from it, it'll be from infection as a secondary effect.

That's the kinda stuff I'd like to see but... yeah. Granted a critical hit that downs you should be auto-death. I few that as something a bit more devastating then you just taking one to many cuts and passing out from blood loss or general fatigue. I mean the guy cut an artery, stabbed your kidney, punctured a lung, did something your dead quickly from kinda ordeal.

-re-edit-
Fun article on death rules for DnD from 1st edition up to 4th - http://www.wizards.c...nd/4ll/20110510

Edited by Adhin, 28 September 2012 - 04:56 AM.


#31
descalabro

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I can't remember well, but I thought party members in IWD couldn't be revived when the character's body was destroyed (like on BG games).

Can anyone confirm this?

#32
gandalf.nho

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I prefer the total party kill option, because if my companions can be ressurected, the main character can also be if at least one of the companions is alive in the end of the fight.

And don't like permadeaths, except when required by the plot

#33
tilly

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If the PC is just a person who was in the wrong place at the wrong time - but is otherwise a normal person in the story universe - then I think they should be just as ressurectable as any other companion. Unless the event they see at the beginning of the game does something to their soul which makes ressurection impossible. Even then, I never enjoyed how the game ended with PC death in Baldur's Gate, although I accept why it did end.

#34
Wirdjos

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I really preferred the system BG had with companion death. It meant that I could mess up a battle so bad *my* only choice was to reload (I wasn't going to let any person in my party permanently die). As long as it's rare and somewhat preventable, I support companion perma death.

#35
sea

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Good ideas here.

With fixed companions, as we know there will be in the game, death is something that will be very hard to manage on a permanent basis, because once someone dies, that's it. This could make the story get very messy very quickly, and would be a huge amount of work to handle effectively if every possible companion could be dead at any given moment. This would also effectively limit how much impact companions could have on the story. It would also encourage save scumming, because let's face it, almost nobody lives with an important character dying if it can be avoided.

So, I think the idea of permanent death is probably unrealistic given the aims of Project Eternity. But what about other options?

I think that Dragon Age's injury system was brilliant, save for the fact that injuries had far too little effect (i.e. -3% effectiveness to an attribute). Injuries should be much more severe, reducing effectiveness in combat by something closer to 15%-50% depending on the number accumulated. I think that there should be a maximum number of possible injuries - say, three - before a character is rendered unconscious. Death itself would not be permanent, but that character would no longer be able to fight or participate in dialogue until (expensive) medical attention can be given. Spells could be used to reduce the impact of injuries but not the total count, meaning that you could effectively dull the pain, but characters would still eventually succumb without proper care.

One other, perhaps more lore-friendly option, would be to allow for companion death For Real™, but to also allow for them to be revived. As souls, rebirth etc. are a big theme of the game, it makes sense to be able to bring someone back after death. To reflect how arduous a "rebirth" can be, characters could suffer temporary stat penalties for, say, 20-30 minutes real time after being revived, enough to be felt, but not enough to encourage save scumming upon every single death. This could be handled either through a revive spell of some sort of the usual priests etc. in town.

Edited by sea, 30 September 2012 - 07:22 PM.

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#36
Zz'gashi

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How death is handled really sets the context for everything else in the game, and it has to work with the save system. I think most players will load a save if they loose a character they care about, and then permanent deaths only serve as a frustration. Having story only deaths cheapens the character's lives. I'm hoping for an optional hardcore mode where you only get the autosave and everyone permanently dies from combat and story choices (but with a bleed out period, so you have a chance and it isn't too frustrating, while maintaining an element of belivability). They have said the game has a focus on souls, so maybe Obsidian already has a unique idea with an in-world explanation.

#37
DCParry

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Good ideas here.

With fixed companions, as we know there will be in the game, death is something that will be very hard to manage on a permanent basis, because once someone dies, that's it. This could make the story get very messy very quickly, and would be a huge amount of work to handle effectively if every possible companion could be dead at any given moment. This would also effectively limit how much impact companions could have on the story. It would also encourage save scumming, because let's face it, almost nobody lives with an important character dying if it can be avoided.

So, I think the idea of permanent death is probably unrealistic given the aims of Project Eternity. But what about other options?

I think that Dragon Age's injury system was brilliant, save for the fact that injuries had far too little effect (i.e. -3% effectiveness to an attribute). Injuries should be much more severe, reducing effectiveness in combat by something closer to 15%-50% depending on the number accumulated. I think that there should be a maximum number of possible injuries - say, three - before a character is rendered unconscious. Death itself would not be permanent, but that character would no longer be able to fight or participate in dialogue until (expensive) medical attention can be given. Spells could be used to reduce the impact of injuries but not the total count, meaning that you could effectively dull the pain, but characters would still eventually succumb without proper care.

One other, perhaps more lore-friendly option, would be to allow for companion death For Real™, but to also allow for them to be revived. As souls, rebirth etc. are a big theme of the game, it makes sense to be able to bring someone back after death. To reflect how arduous a "rebirth" can be, characters could suffer temporary stat penalties for, say, 20-30 minutes real time after being revived, enough to be felt, but not enough to encourage save scumming upon every single death. This could be handled either through a revive spell of some sort of the usual priests etc. in town.


I like the cut of your jib. The trick is to balance consequences with fun. If the consequences are too high, and the outcome sufficiently random (such as a failed saving throw) then all it does is make reload. Too low, and people just ignore death. Permanent consequences are an issue too, In my old PnP days, we had a sanity score, equal to your mental stats/3. Each time you were rezzed, you lost a sanity point, with all the attendant penalties of low ability scores (Points could be restored with restoration spells and other rare means, but needless to say my clinically paranoid elven cleric with a 3 sanity was a hoot to play). However, in my opinion, the environment is sufficiently different in a CRPG, that this sort of permenant penalty doesn't really increase the player's enjoyment of the game.

I think the DA:O solution, with slightly harsher temporary penalties works (especially with the incapacitation with multiple injuries). I mean, let's face it, these sorts of penalties and injuries and deaths are really only relevant on your first play through. Afterwards, one's comfort with the mechanics of the game and the conscious or unconscious familiarity with the encounters make them much less relevant. My first play through in DA:O I was scrounging potions and injury kits, treating them like gold. On my 13th, I was selling them to free up inventory space.

#38
sea

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My first play through in DA:O I was scrounging potions and injury kits, treating them like gold. On my 13th, I was selling them to free up inventory space.

:blink:

But I do agree, the injury system worked great before I learned all the tricks of the combat system and how to minimize the injuries. My guess is the way they balanced it is that their play-testers were probably quite sloppy and had lots of deaths, so they made injury kits plentiful and injuries less harmful... I don't think Eternity needs to make the same sort of consideration for mainstream audiences.

Edited by sea, 01 October 2012 - 05:26 AM.


#39
flarglebargle

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i'd like them to some how tie the death mechanic to characters souls to make it more interesting than simply reloading after a party wipe or just reviving a character with a spell, like for example having to negotiate or fight with daemons to get their soul back so you can rez them

#40
imatechguy

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Good poll, I'm glad to see that most responses mirror my own.

Perma-death is good, it adds to the atmosphere and sense of trepidation when going into a new area or entering combat. Granted not every death should render an NPC unable to be revived but there should be that risk both in and outside of direct combat for both the PC and all NPCs.

- I want to have to revive my companions if they die in combat
- Even better if they have a serious wound that needs tending to upon revival (like in DA:O)
- Include a bleed-out period where you can prevent the death of the PC or NPC’s, they will still need serious attention post combat if an enemy doesn’t finish the job first.
- They should still take up a party slot if dead and if you remove them while dead they are gone.


This lack of consequences is one of the things I despise about the newer generation of cRPG's. Yes it sucks when your PC dies or your favorite NPC gets chunked and you have to reload but it also teaches you to save frequently and not do moronic things like walk into the middle of a forest area where there are a bunch of statues of creatures without at least wondering why they are there, what you might find just ahead and what's in your inventory should it happen to you or a party member. It also tend to make taking the smart-arsed dialog option to the head of the local thieves guild if you’re a L2 punk as less viable and less attractive option.

I find this approach is less of a pain than it is ridiculous when everyone that was downed in combat just gets up at the end of it like nothing happened.





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