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Death Machine Miyagi

How can they make P:E interesting at 'Epic' levels?

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My personal preference is that the power scale for this game system be "shaped" logarithmic-ally. That is to say, when you get to higher and higher levels they have progressively less impact from one level to the next.  Too often games tend to scale exponentially or geometrically and once they get out of the "sweet spot" (say 4th to 12th level in old-school PnP D&D) you see any attempt at narrative coherence get thrown right out the window unless some supernatural, demigod-like structure takes over.

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Having continuous sequels with same protagonist is a bad idea. You need very strong cast of characters and story to keep your audience hooked. Mass Effect failed imo because by the third game I did not care about shepherds story.

 

Instead of making epic levels about the individual how about the group instead. Epic levels in project eternity would consist of group of souls that are able to perform spectacular feats that work as unison to defeat foes. Epic levels being more about the awakened higher connection of one with his soul and other souls then the raw power of this person.

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2)  While overall I think most people agree lower level stories are easier to make interesting, there is a rare pleasure to be found only in 'epic' levels: namely, the occasional reminder that you're no longer the plucky underdog setting out to change the world with a cheap long sword and a suit of crappy scale mail. You are Cthulhu. You are pain and death incarnate, a living legend that should set any sane villain who isn't similarly godlike to wetting himself the moment you arrive. 

 

ToB had a sequence where you invade the underground layer of a Drow elf Bhaalspawn. Every once in awhile it would cut to a scene showing said Bhaalspawn and her minions absolutely losing their s*** at the realization that they're under assault by Gorion's ward, and desperately trying to think up some way to stop you while their panic grows and grows. After an entire series of having every two-bit villain smugly treat you like they were going to crush you effortlessly, it was deeply satisfying to realize just how scary my charname had become to those who stood in his way by the time of the last expansion pack. 

 

This can be overdone, of course, but the occasional moment of realization of just how powerful you really are and how far you've come since the series started can be really fun. If we ever get to that, I hope there are a few moments of that sort.

 

There is a place for that, but I don't think it's in a serious, story and atmosphere centered RPG.

Ego-boosting and virutal peenus waving does not belong there IMHO.

 

In a hack-and-slash like Diablo? Why not?

 

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My personal preference is that the power scale for this game system be "shaped" logarithmic-ally. 

 

A million times this.

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"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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My personal preference is that the power scale for this game system be "shaped" logarithmic-ally. 

 

A million times this.

 

 

Thirded. This would be wack.

 

500px-Logarithmic_Spiral_Pylab.svg.png


I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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2)  While overall I think most people agree lower level stories are easier to make interesting, there is a rare pleasure to be found only in 'epic' levels: namely, the occasional reminder that you're no longer the plucky underdog setting out to change the world with a cheap long sword and a suit of crappy scale mail. You are Cthulhu. You are pain and death incarnate, a living legend that should set any sane villain who isn't similarly godlike to wetting himself the moment you arrive. 

 

ToB had a sequence where you invade the underground layer of a Drow elf Bhaalspawn. Every once in awhile it would cut to a scene showing said Bhaalspawn and her minions absolutely losing their s*** at the realization that they're under assault by Gorion's ward, and desperately trying to think up some way to stop you while their panic grows and grows. After an entire series of having every two-bit villain smugly treat you like they were going to crush you effortlessly, it was deeply satisfying to realize just how scary my charname had become to those who stood in his way by the time of the last expansion pack. 

 

This can be overdone, of course, but the occasional moment of realization of just how powerful you really are and how far you've come since the series started can be really fun. If we ever get to that, I hope there are a few moments of that sort.

 

There is a place for that, but I don't think it's in a serious, story and atmosphere centered RPG.

Ego-boosting and virutal peenus waving does not belong there IMHO.

 

In a hack-and-slash like Diablo? Why not?

 

Framed like that, you make it sound so juvenile. I think it's just an enjoyable reminder of how far you've come since Candlekeep. For those who started playing Baldur's Gate at its release, and finished ToB after its release years later, it was a nod to the fact that you're no longer a struggling adventurer but the next best thing to Elminster, one of the most powerful individuals in the setting. 

 

For the record, the opposite is just as absurd and feels weird. Mask of the Betrayer featured an entire party of some of the most powerful people in the Forgotten Realms. One of them was just some random hagspawn locked in the jail, with no explanation for why he was so powerful. Another was a Red Wizard of Thay, not apparently of very much importance in the hierarchy of that organization. 

 

No one had ever heard of you. This made some sense, considering you were far away from where you did most of your levelling, but to be one of the most obviously absurdly powerful people in Faerun and remain anonymous for long seems a stretch. Certainly after you take down an entire army of spirits and defeat a bear god there should have been notice taken.

 

But no. Random people would get in lethal bar fights with you...and hold their own against your epic level party. Gnoll guards and Red Wizards apprentices appeared who could single-handedly wipe the floor with entire parties of regular-level adventurers; they were neither afraid of your borderline-Elminster level character nor were they aware who you were, no matter your deeds.

 

In short, most of the game played out as if consciously trying to forget that you're no longer an average joe adventurer, but rather the next best thing to a demi-god. Rather than acknowledge the fact of your power and leave regular enemies appropriately terrified of facing you, it just buffed the regular enemies until they were epic level, too. That's not only unsatisfying, it makes no sense.

Edited by Death Machine Miyagi
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Because I think it's juvenile in a way. Not a bad thing in itself, but to me it hurts a serious setting, since such extreeme power differences rarely work and make sense even more rarely.

 

You say it shows how far I've come? What I did shows how far I've come. Not stats. Actions taken. Choices made. Path traveled.

 

If my character  from Candlekeep did all that he did, without gaining 10 levels.. has he achieved anything less? Was his path shorter? Obviously not.

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Because I think it's juvenile in a way. Not a bad thing in itself, but to me it hurts a serious setting, since such extreeme power differences rarely work and make sense even more rarely.

 

You say it shows how far I've come? What I did shows how far I've come. Not stats. Actions taken. Choices made. Path traveled.

 

If my character  from Candlekeep did all that he did, without gaining 10 levels.. has he achieved anything less? Was his path shorter? Obviously not.

 

Even without the extreme power differences D&D entails...even in the context of a setting where such power differences don't exist, where the rough equivalent of a 30th level character is still vulnerable to a random guy with a sword or a gun....having a character who has survived all the challenges you would have faced by that point would still make him a legend and still make fear the appropriate response when he shows up gunning for you. I don't find anything juvenile in recognizing that, nor anything wrong with finding satisfaction in just how feared and dangerous people recognize you to be.

 

To remove the absurd power differences, you may not be Cthulhu, but you're at least Jesse James. Some acknowledgement of that only makes sense. 

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I haven't seen anyone arguing against antagonists showing you a little respect. Some of us just aren't huge fans of epic-level fireworks. Not the same thing.


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Something I wouldn't mind playing is a game based on a family heritage.

 

You start off with the character in the current game; after much struggle he gains a stronghold, power, and a record of achievement. Then he settles down and has a parcel of kids. Maybe a disaster happens and the family becomes scattered to the four winds: the second game plays the role of one of those kids trying to figure out what happened, working to locate family members and recover her family name, then gaining revenge on the blackheart who devastated her family. The third game could be about a black-sheep cousin who became lost to the family. His adventures are about what shaped his destiny, and how his soul is tied back to the originating character.... &c.

 

If you build a heritage plot in this manner you don't necessarily need to scale the game to epic levels, but you still create a story that links together between the different releases.

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I haven't seen anyone arguing against antagonists showing you a little respect. Some of us just aren't huge fans of epic-level fireworks. Not the same thing.

I agree, and I'd rather enemies were scared of you because of something you've done than because you can survive being stabbed 17 times with a sword.

But yeah it would be nice to see some enemies panic over you later in the game.

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to me it would be enough to not make the game retardproof. i went a bit retro with games i haven't played back in the day lately, and the first thing i noticed was that i had to use my brain. no convenient solutions to every situation like: "look it's a tank!" big arrow appears "let's take that rpg that just happens to be here when we need it and shoot it". what i also noticed, is that back then they did not bother with using the "politically correct" approach to the game's content and design, thing that very few companies do today

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I certainly hope we have access to epic levels when restoring our stronghold to its former glory (and beyond). If the masons and engineers use low-quality levels, stuff could be crooked. I want that bubble sight-glass to be made out of friggin' magic crystals, and the body of the level to be crafted from earth-golem flesh (which everyone knows is best known for its ability to hold a perfectly straight edge).

 

8)

 

Seriously though, I just second (or third... seventh, at this point?) the idea of the narrative and setting (and threats, conflicts, etc.) maintaining consistency. If we're to become gods, then so be it. AS LONG AS we're presented with scenarios gods would actually be challenged with. That being said, as fun as it is to progress and wield lots of power sometimes, it would be quite nice to actually maintain a much more vulnerable, blatantly mortal form throughout the game and be forced to make intelligent use of the tools at your disposal (which will become more numerous as you go along) to generate the greatest effect in a given situation. Especially in the midst of a world rife with soul magic.

 

That's one of the most interesting things to me; taking a fantastical world where you could just ignore all the common, everyday problems and shortcomings of reality with "because magic and fantasy! 8D", and yet make it seem like a world full of real people just trying to get by and struggling to do what they can amidst a plethora of limitations, magic or no magic.

 

I want to see someone who forges magical armor at a magic forge still toil all day and grow fatigued by their work, and inspect their results only to say "Ahh, crap... I missed a weakness in the metal here. This enchantment won't hold properly. Guess I'll start over tomorrow." Instead of "Well, since you can make equipment with magical properties in this world, and magical properties are so nice compared to the lack of them in reality, everything's also really easy and difficulty/trickiness no longer exists! 8D!"

 

That's one of the problems I have with overly specific spells. I'd rather see a world in which a magic-user actually has to shape and wield magic, and can screw up in a plethora of different ways, to various degrees. "Oops, I did the magic equivalent of letting go too early. The path of that fireball was a bit wobbly, and it might hit an unintended target." Or "Woops, I didn't quite form the orb correctly, so it's too small and the explosion will not be as large as intended."

 

Not "Behind this door is a perfect Fireball. If you have the key to this door (know the spell's words and movements), and you use the key properly, the door will open and out will come that perfect Fireball. If you mess anything up, the door stays closed. You're not actually CREATING a fireball. You're just calling its cell phone, and giving it GPS coordinates, like its an airstrike."

 

*shrug*. I digress a bit. I think it's not too difficult to maintain the struggle-factor with things, and I think it's what makes achievements and obstacle-overcomings so great to us as humans. I want to know that my character skillfully used his nice sword and soul powers to great effect, not just happened to have used a sword that, if a gust of wind were to pick up that sword and carry it towards a group of enemies for a bit, it would destroy 17 enemies just from being dropped onto the ground. The sword does all the work! Just set it, and forget it! 8D!

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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to me it would be enough to not make the game retardproof. i went a bit retro with games i haven't played back in the day lately, and the first thing i noticed was that i had to use my brain. no convenient solutions to every situation like: "look it's a tank!" big arrow appears "let's take that rpg that just happens to be here when we need it and shoot it". what i also noticed, is that back then they did not bother with using the "politically correct" approach to the game's content and design, thing that very few companies do today

 

I saw a video once commenting on how many older games were very good at implying what you were supposed to do and subtly teaching you about the game as you played without using heavy-handed tutorial sequences and the like.

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I saw a video once commenting on how many older games were very good at implying what you were supposed to do and subtly teaching you about the game as you played without using heavy-handed tutorial sequences and the like.

In The Last of Us, they utilized the typical "places you're supposed to go/things you're supposed to climb on are color-coded" trick that so many games use now. Only, it was very subtle. Only the couple of times I actually got a bit turned around and thought "Man, I really don't understand where I'm even supposed to go here" did I remember to look for yellow. Lots of games nowadays just make that ledge or ladder BRIGHT yellow, or, even worse, make it flash at you. Basically, you don't even have the opportunity to figure it out, because the answer is shouted at you, with color. I'd usually notice, only after the fact, that a ladder was actually worn-down yellow-painted, or that a dumpster had a yellow label on one of its sides, or that that ledge had a little strip of caution tape draping along near it.

 

I know it's not exactly the same thing as the hand-holding versus sink-or-swim range in an RPG (there aren't multiple ways to get through a level in a game like The Last of Us... well, not when it comes to which ledge to climb to progress. It's more linear puzzles.), but I just thought it was a comment worthy example of a very very similar exercise of light-handedness in gamily guiding the player.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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*shrug*. I digress a bit.

Lephys, if that is what you consider "a bit", I would hate to see you digress "some" or even "a lot".

 

Back on-topic: I want Epic levels in either the expansion(depends on scope) or the second game(if importing the character is an option). I want Epic levels to feel powerful and be well-designed, and actually give characters class abilities other than "EPIC BONUS FEAT!!!!!". I want Epic levels to be well-integrated into the lore and not contradict things by flooding the game with level 20 foot soldiers. Most importantly, I want Epic levels to be fun and challenging, no bashing away at enemies for hours or effortless conflicts.

 

I also want reaction to power-level and renown, so random fighters wouldn't challenge William the Valiant, slayer of Demon Princes, Demi-Gods, and the occasional wolf.

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Something I wouldn't mind playing is a game based on a family heritage.

 

You start off with the character in the current game; after much struggle he gains a stronghold, power, and a record of achievement. Then he settles down and has a parcel of kids. Maybe a disaster happens and the family becomes scattered to the four winds: the second game plays the role of one of those kids trying to figure out what happened, working to locate family members and recover her family name, then gaining revenge on the blackheart who devastated her family. The third game could be about a black-sheep cousin who became lost to the family. His adventures are about what shaped his destiny, and how his soul is tied back to the originating character.... &c.

 

If you build a heritage plot in this manner you don't necessarily need to scale the game to epic levels, but you still create a story that links together between the different releases.

 

I kind of like this idea but for the fact that it sounds like a lot of railroading. What if my character doesn't want to have kids? What if my character has no love interest, or my character is gay, or my character is a psychopath who would sooner butcher and devour a potential mate rather than produce offspring with him/her? What if my character just prefers the life of the wanderer over the ol' ball and chain, finding the idea of settling down with husband/wife and a gaggle of brats absolutely nauseating? 

 

Basically, the sequel would all hinge on your character being the family type. Not that games like BG2 didn't railroad you to the point of absurdity, but in general I think that's something to avoid if you can.

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Lephys, if that is what you consider "a bit", I would hate to see you digress "some" or even "a lot".

Fine, fine. I digressed a byte. Happy? :)

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Actually, the power curve in D&D wasn't all that dramatic, especially in 2.0. An epic Level fighter (never even mind a thief) in mediocre equipment could still be overwhelmed by a group of halfway competent fighters. What really set a character apart from others (when it comes to physical fighting) was armor class. And it was often too easy to make an character almost invincible to even dozens of lesser enemies by simply raising his AC, regardless of his actual level. If enemies need a natural 20 to hit you so that they only have a chance of 5% to damage a character, that's obviously not enough. Especially when they have only 1 or 2 attacks per round.

The core of the problem here was probably that the number of ememies that attacked you didn't affect you AC much.

 

Fortunately, we won't have that problem in P:E, since misses will probably be a rare occurence.

 

 

With mages of course, it was different. But an epic level mage is an archmage after all, and you'd expect them to cause some havoc. Still, when they used up all their spells, or high level spells, they weren't that much of a threat anymore. And they also got trouble when ambushed, if they couldn't establish their defenses fast enough.

Edited by Iucounu
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Something I wouldn't mind playing is a game based on a family heritage.

 

You start off with the character in the current game; after much struggle he gains a stronghold, power, and a record of achievement. Then he settles down and has a parcel of kids. Maybe a disaster happens and the family becomes scattered to the four winds: the second game plays the role of one of those kids trying to figure out what happened, working to locate family members and recover her family name, then gaining revenge on the blackheart who devastated her family. The third game could be about a black-sheep cousin who became lost to the family. His adventures are about what shaped his destiny, and how his soul is tied back to the originating character.... &c.

 

If you build a heritage plot in this manner you don't necessarily need to scale the game to epic levels, but you still create a story that links together between the different releases.

 

I kind of like this idea but for the fact that it sounds like a lot of railroading. What if my character doesn't want to have kids? What if my character has no love interest, or my character is gay, or my character is a psychopath who would sooner butcher and devour a potential mate rather than produce offspring with him/her? What if my character just prefers the life of the wanderer over the ol' ball and chain, finding the idea of settling down with husband/wife and a gaggle of brats absolutely nauseating? 

 

Basically, the sequel would all hinge on your character being the family type. Not that games like BG2 didn't railroad you to the point of absurdity, but in general I think that's something to avoid if you can.

 

 

For your situation all you need is an alternative.  Say in PE1 you have the option to have children.  If you have children then PE2 can work from there with rjshae's idea.  If you decide not to have children in PE1 then in PE2 the story starts with some family relative from an uncle or aunt or whatever.  Still related by blood but not your characters child.  Import a savegame to define which way you start.

 

The story doesn't even need to be around the stronghold, it could just be all about your soul and those linked to it by their heritage.

 

With regard to epic level difficulty I find it hard to believe that most players would be happy with low level henchmen and high level bosses only at epic levels.  While it might be more realistic that not every Guardsman is level 20 it wouldn't make for a very interesting game in my opinion if the only difficult fights were bosses.  There would have to be so many bosses in the game that reality goes out the window anyway or the game would be so short because henchman just lie in bloodied heaps every 20 seconds as you wade through them.

 

Epic level stories need to be in epic level content, I think that is why the stories usually involve you being The Chosen of something, just to explain why it is you that has to go kill the bad guy and you that can actually do it.

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Well, I think many of you are forgetting a very important aspect that PE brings to the table. Souls! Perhaps in a sequel at the end, your character is killed and his soul is returned to the cycle. Perhaps his/her soul loses power in being recycled or transformed in some manner but is brought back in some other period/time/form. The options are really endless here....Perhaps you have already lived many lives throughout time....who knows!

Edited by Utukka

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Frak Epic. I hate that word. It skews expectations and does more harm than good.

 

I want ENGAGING.

Scaling of itemes or levels and big differences between levels/tiers only create problems.


* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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Frak Epic. I hate that word. It skews expectations and does more harm than good.

 

I want ENGAGING.

Scaling of items or levels and big differences between levels/tiers only create problems.

I agree, Oh Dae Su's desperate (and injured) fight against fifteen goons in a hallway is a good deal more epic than two dragon riding wizards flinging +4000 fireballs against each other.

 

Overwhelming odds are not the same as large numbers.

Remember, Goku's power level may have been over 9000, but those numbers IIRC inflated pretty fast.

(yes, I know a tiny bit about dragonball, I am deeply ashamed)

If my left pinky can destroy worlds, that does not feel empowering, it feels boring.

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Lephys, if that is what you consider "a bit", I would hate to see you digress "some" or even "a lot".

Fine, fine. I digressed a byte. Happy? :)

I'm on the Internet so no.

 

One thing I would hate to see for Epic levels is the non-progression from BG2. Gaining a level should be exciting and add tactical depth to a class, not just another X HP and another use of a Special ability.

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