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Thread: Sci-fi Setting: Concepts for a Sequel

  1. #61
    Colonel Nerdfish's Avatar
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    Impressive
    what I meant is there is no definite specop class or ranger equivalent.

  2. #62
    I have a question. Why are all those people (alien and heroes) looking for? Galactic credits? Fame points? Genetic samples? What will attract them as flag?

  3. #63
    ...It's nice up here! Alfryd's Avatar
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    what I meant is there is no definite specop class or ranger equivalent.
    Oh, there is- the Praefects (IIRC.) Manhunts, rescue operations, insertions/infiltrations, etc- what the Operative or Section 9 would get up to. The wilderness-exploration element would probably fall under the Ecologists.
    I have a question. Why are all those people (alien and heroes) looking for? Galactic credits? Fame points? Genetic samples? What will attract them as flag?
    Good question... To be honest, I don't know exactly. A lot of the more mercenary characters would be easily swayed by money, but I'd say credits would have at least some influence in most cases. In others, you might approach them with a job, and they'd ask you to lower taxation or build a new barracks in return, or maybe they'd simply work for free if they had a high opinion of you, or maybe they'd want a promotion through the ranks- there are lots of possibilities here. The other thing to remember is that a lot of these classes are the equivalent of innkeepers, blacksmith workers, market vendors, town guards, etc.- so you'd have near-direct authority over their behaviour in many respects.


    More sketchies. These are just some examples of various character builds that it might be possible to generate:



    In reading order...

    Xe Nong Hti (Codename: Eclipse), Highborn/Palatine/Praefect. Traits: Gifted, Impassive, Part Cyborg. (NF, please let me know if I've accidentally spelt something crass in chinese.)

    Colonel Amall Fadun, Guildsman/Man-at-arms/Logician. Traits: Impassive, Supercognitive, Fortitude.

    "Puck" Vaswali, Native/Freeborn/Xenopath. Traits: Minor Mutation, Adolescent, Capricious, Gifted.

    Big Mama Tunto, Native/Shaper/Ecologist. Traits: Four-armed, Brawn, Sterile, Regenerative, Venom Gland, Major Mutation. You can also see a 'charmed' Qud and aerial Hareem.

    Sylvia 401A, Android/Guildsman/Aesthete. Traits: Prime Directive, Avarice, Inorganic, Hyperphysical, Servant Drone.
    Last edited by Alfryd; 05-11-2009 at 16:52. Reason: ...Forgot traits.

  4. #64
    So, will you suggest a system of political promises?
    "If you do this for me, in return, I'll promise to build a XXX/to give you money/to allow you to get out of this planet/to progress in hierarchy/..."
    Could be fun, and if you lie too much, nobody will follow you.

  5. #65
    ...It's nice up here! Alfryd's Avatar
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    Glad you like it. 'Course, it's possible some people would view this as too much 'micro', but if AI is improved and the game adopts a more relaxed pace, theoretically the player would be free to spend time on this sort of character interaction.
    Last edited by Alfryd; 06-11-2009 at 00:03.

  6. #66
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    ...Anyways. I think I'm going to leave it there.

  7. #67
    Colonel Nerdfish's Avatar
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    This is very impressive Alfryd. I can't think of anyone else who made such a large contribution to the franchise without some kind of compensation.
    Last edited by Nerdfish; 09-11-2009 at 18:15.

  8. #68
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    "A world is supported by four things-
    -the learning of the wise,
    -the justice of the great,
    -the prayers of the righteous and
    -the valor of the brave.
    But all of these are as nothing without a ruler who knows the art of ruling."
    -Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam, Dune




    The Learning of the Wise: Trade, Research and Development

    "Deep in the human unconsciousness is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic."
    -Dune

    *- Research and development, by and large, is done by characters, not by buildings. Artificers, aesthetes, guildsmen, physicians, etc. are all equivalents to blacksmith workers, innkeepers, market vendors, etc- so their skill trees represent the backbone of your economy.

    *- All characters acquire skills through practice, not killing monsters- which means that you can't just order characters to learn something- It takes time! However, you can encourage research in a particular direction via standing Commissions (see below. e.g, paying an artificer to keep making blasters until s/he's really good at it. You get to stockpile the results, naturally.)

    *- There's a very simple resource system at work: food, spice, water, power and ore are raw materials produced by the land (or suitable facilities) and required for production of more complex items- medicines, alcohol, artwork, armour, even some buildings.


    The Justice of the Great: Crime, Edicts, Alms and Taxation

    "There's a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people."
    -Admiral Bill Adama, Battlestar Galactica

    *- Edicts can be thought of as 'law enforcement' modelled through flag mechanics: you pick a target, pick something you DON'T want done to it, and choose an appropriate punishment for violation of that ban (imprisonment, fines, execution, hard labour- whatever.) A crime occurs whenever someone breaks an Edict, and rounding up criminals is generally handled by bounty hunters (mercenaries,) praefects, palatines, (or, in a pinch, men-at-arms.)

    *- Taxation can be set at a desired percentage for different areas of the settlement, along with alms (a crude form of social welfare to offset cases of starvation or homelessness.)


    The Prayers of the Righteous: The Powers and their Interventions

    "Preacher, don't the Bible have some pretty specific things to say about killing?"
    "Quite specific. It is, however, somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps."
    -Firefly

    *- The 6 major factions- initiates, spacers, logicians, collective, KotSF and shapers- are the equivalent of the setting's religious priesthood. They all have their spiritual aspects and peculiar philosophical teachings to spread, and they all have a degree of independance from direct control by local government. Once you permit their settlement, their facilities will expand and multiply based on how much attention they get from the common people, which in turn determines how effectively they can intervene on your behalf.

    *- As a rule, you can get 2 allied factions in a settlement, no problem. Getting 3 is harder, but doable. Getting 4 is extraordinarily difficult, and getting 5 or 6 is for all intents and purposes impossible.

    *- 'sovereign spells' are basically modelled in a fashion similar to flags: you offer money to get a job done, and the adepts of the facility in question will attend to your needs shortly. Most interventions have a long-term effect (rather than being once-off acts of god), and any credits go into the temple coffers (without taxation.)


    The Valor of the Brave: Commissions, Defence and your Household

    "That bumblebee laid down arms at the first sign of inevitable crushing defeat! -Can you imagine such a cowardly creature?"
    -Mal Reynolds, Firefly

    *- Commissions are the equivalents of flags/bounties. They can be either public (available to all comers,) recruited (public, but applicants subject to approval,) or private (you approach the candidates directly and ask if they'd be willing to undertake a given task.) Reconnaissance, diplomacy, combat and manufacture are the main heading, and can be applied to either a single subject or all subjects of that type. They also form the basis for composing parties (or crew, for a ship.)

    *- Over time, characters with high loyalty can be added to your Household. They receive a fixed salary, but no longer need to be bribed into action all the time. (However, you must take care not to offend their moral code or dignity, or they'll quit, taking your reputation with them.)


    The Ruler Who Knows The Art Of Ruling: Diplomacy and the Noble Houses

    "You understand? One uses power by grasping it lightly. To grasp too strongly is to be taken over by power, and thus to become its victim."

    "Enemies strengthen you.
    Allies weaken."
    -Frank Herbert

    *- The player is represented personally by a member of a ruling house. (This could be a fully-customisable character.) The nobility still have certain vestigial privileges with respect to government, so this seems the simplest angle to take.

    *- You can build up relationships with other worlds/systems in order to gain access to trade, migrants and reinforcements. However, each world has it's own preferences with regard to the different factions (shapers, collective, jovians, etc, depending on whether the world is fringe, urbanised, low gravity, etc) which complicates matters.

    *- The player can establish up to 3 or 4 settlements on different worlds (which all simulate their growth simultaneously,) and the sovereign spends time travelling from world to world to supervise construction or join in special missions with other heroes. There are no separate maps where you have to start over with a blank slate time and time again- just one big playground universe.


    .

  9. #69
    ...It's nice up here! Alfryd's Avatar
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    "Wheel of morality, turn, turn, turn, tell us the lesson that we should learn!"
    -Animaniacs

    "Since no one particular zone is the 'good one', and since conflicts between them arise constantly, humans are very attentive, very confused, and very negotiatory creatures. Stories which address these kinds of issues are, by definition, dramatic. That's what drama is, the lack of a clear-cut right and wrong."
    -Ron Edwards, Sex and Sorcery

    "The strange thing is that all plays, including farces, are better when the author feels he has something important to say."
    -Lajos Egri, The Art of Dramatic Writing
    Last edited by Alfryd; 10-11-2009 at 13:12. Reason: Truncation- again.

  10. #70
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    Hey Alfryd, if the player character is a nobility, does it mean he's powerless in the republic ? In the contrary, if the player character is head of a large corporation, would he be much less influential in the empire ?

  11. #71
    ...It's nice up here! Alfryd's Avatar
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    The Republic conquered the Empire, so there were concessions made both ways. And now I'm done.

  12. #72
    ...It's nice up here! Alfryd's Avatar
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    ...Goddamn it. I can't get this out of my head! Gaah! I am so weak.

  13. #73
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    Narrativism, Simulationism, Fanfic, And Why A Game Designer Should Care About The Setting

    Okay, this is gonna come off as pretentious as hell, but it needs to be said-

    The priestess stopped in her tracks, frowning. "It is just the opposite! Life is inherently unfair and unjust, wrought with inequity. From the moment each of us is born, we each have different fates and fortunes. But death comes to us all, and in death we are all the same. Kings and peasants, you and I. Can you not see the beauty in that? In the final, ultimate equality that death brings?"
    -The Priestess' Tale, from MajestyQuest.com

    "No. I'll not stop administering Warrior of Discord transformation for the worthy. Those who Grr-Tang killed are far less than would have died if Gravenall remained a simple warrior."
    -Cultist Kaliam, the Warrior of Discord's Tale

    The Abomination is dead- but at what cost? The surviving heroes are forever changed. Even the staunchest of these veterans has been plagued by shockingly vivid nightmares. Others report hearing it's eerie cry while those around them hear only the normal bustle of life. All in attendance saw this indescribable evil die, but none feel it's touch is truly gone from this world.
    -Venn Fairweather, Vigil for a Fallen Hero

    "Without seeing your play we can tell you what was wrong with it: it had no clear-cut premise. And if there is no clear-cut, active premise, it is more than possible that the characters were not alive. How could they be? They do not know, for instance, why they should commit a perfect crime. Their only reason is your command, and as a result all their performance and all their dialogue are artificial. No one believes what they do or say.

    You may not believe it, but the characters in a play are supposed to be real people. They are supposed to do things for reasons of their own...

    Everything in existence is closely related to everything else. You cannot treat any subject as though it were isolated from the rest of life.

    ...The premise is the conception, the beginning of a play. The premise is a seed and it grows into a plant that was contained in the original seed; nothing more, nothing less. The premise should not stand out like a sore thumb, turning the characters into puppets and the conflicting forces into a mechanical set-up. In a well-constructed play or story, it is impossible to denote just where premise ends and story or character begins."
    -Lajos Egri, The Art of Dramatic Writing


    Does this mean that, when crafting a story, you should pay attention to these principles?- Sure, I reckon so. But, ideally, I'm not talking about creating a pre-packaged story for consumption by the player. I'm talking about getting out of the players' damn way so they can create their own story. That's what Narrativist play is. You provide them with an interesting setting, situation, and/or characters, and then let them feel their way to whatever they consider to be a satisfying conclusion.

    In this case, the setting's factions provide a heap of built-in premises. They are fundamental conflicts between different moral systems, and the player is more or less obliged to chose between them eventually. Basically, the game centres on a period in history when these 6 forces have coincidentally arrived at a delicate balance of power, which could be tipped either way. The player is the fulcrum on which larger events will hinge, and which way they go is entirely and purely the player's decision.

    I personally think- certainly for video games- that some degree of Simulationism is a neccesary underlying foundation or skeleton in order for Narrativist play to emerge. And Simulationism is NOT restricted to the pursuit of grim historical accuracy. It's about thematic consistency, rich characterisation, and respect for the world's continuity and inner logic- in short, Internal Cause is King. Bright colours, surprising humour and quirky genre subversions do not contradict Sim priorities, and anyone who thinks they do needs to pull their head out of their ass.


    Letters to the Editor

    Paradox- if you're listening- you in particular should care about promoting Narrativist play. You're a company with a proud tradition of encouraging it's fans to create After Action Reports based on their in-game experiences. And that is something to be proud of. Based on brief play, I reckon Crusader Kings is possibly your best example of fertile ground for Narrativist play, but it's also something Majesty once had, and for similar reasons.

    1. The game did NOT impose a predefined story upon the player. From a Narrativist's perspective, that would essentially be robbing them of the game. The more predefined plot you have, the less freedom a player has to express their own.

    2. The game did not have a clear division between 'good' and 'evil' factions. (Elves, rogues, WoDs, cultists and priestesses were either more nuanced than that or downright amoral, and half the time you wound up fighting the same classes who fought for you.)

    3. The game showed some respect for the internal motives of it's characters and the integrity of the world. (It is possible to have too much detail here- to the point where it constrains thematic freedom- but some degree of Sim aesthetic is needed to maintain plausibility.)

    In brief, encouraging Narrativist play means raising interesting questions without answering them.

    I'm aware that plenty- perhaps even most- of Majesty's players enjoyed the game purely for it's humour and charm (and sure, occasional aspects were just plain silly.) But Majesty also attracted a disproportionately large and talented fan-fiction community, with a prolific output that spanned both deliberately absurdist parody and surprisingly high-quality drama. Not all of it was great, but I would personally love to see that kind of dialogue emerge again.

    But if that's going to happen, then Paradox- as owner of the IP- really need to get to grips with the world at the centre of your game and with Narrativist priorities. You can't just make arbitrary tactical decisions about what features to insert and delete, what kind of characters to make, rationalise those decisions retroactively, and then assume that Sim or Nar-inclined fans won't notice you're stretching things. We will notice. Because we're not idiots. ...Thank you.
    Last edited by Alfryd; 17-11-2009 at 14:00. Reason: Clarifications.

  14. #74
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    Why are you so weak ? you love it don't you ?
    it's a pretty good idea Alfryd. speaking of the Fanfic community - they have probably grown up and are faced with all the crap life is throwing at them. So enticing them to return can be difficult.
    Last edited by Nerdfish; 16-11-2009 at 00:21.

  15. #75
    ...It's nice up here! Alfryd's Avatar
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    Why are you so weak?
    Well, that was mainly humour, but I guess it's just against my better judgement.
    it's a pretty good idea Alfryd. speaking of the Fanfic community - they have probably grown up and are faced with all the crap life is throwing at them.
    Yeah, but if Maj2 preserved the spirit of the original, you'd expect to see a new crop of fanfic writers springing up, (along with at least some of the old guard.) It can't have been just sheer coincidence the first time 'round- there were reasons why Majesty fanfic was strong- and whatever they were, they clearly don't apply to Maj2. It could be down to other factors- maybe Maj2 just hasn't sold as well, maybe the website wasn't as polished, maybe 10 years' exposure to MMOs has just left gamers less familiar with fantasy worlds that aren't complete whores to Gamism- but maybe it has something to do with the reasons I listed.

  16. #76
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    Relationships, building a Household, and general suggestions on/for the AI

    "I heard you got a medal."
    "Yeah. Seems like they're handing them out for anything these days. Good behaviour. Attendance. Plays well with others."
    -Battlestar Galactica

    "[Kynes] found himself troubled by a fact he had observed here: This Duke was concerned more over the men than he was over the spice. He risked his own life and that of his son to save the men. He passed off the loss of a spice crawler with a gesture. The threat to men's lives had him in a rage. A leader such as that would command fanatic loyalty. He would be difficult to defeat.
    Against his own will and all previous judgements, Kynes admitted to himself: 'I like this Duke.'"
    -Dune

    "...I learned something from Nandi. Not just from what happened, but from her. The family she made, the strength of her love for them- That's what kept them together. When you live... with that kind of strength... you get tied to it. You can't break away. And you never want to."
    -Inara Serra, Firefly

    "You made them feel safe enough to be brave."
    -Admiral Adama, BSG


    Continuing my rambling series of self-indulgent attempts at vapourware co-design efforts at helpful suggestion, here's a few thoughts on how hero AI might be improved- particularly with respect to relationships between the characters and the Sovereign. I'm pretty sure NF made the basic suggestion months and months ago, and I performed some basic practical prototyping of the idea, so I'm reasonably sure it's theoretically sound.

    Building a Decent AI: Contexts

    The first thing you need here is an AI that can learn- if only on the most basic level. And in order to learn, an AI needs to be able to keep track of cause and effect. A Context is basically a record kept of what causes things to happen. For example:

    1. Than Pritcher (a Runner) is locked in mortal combat with some hostile aliens.
    2. The Sovereign places an Attack Commission on the heads of said hostile aliens.
    3. Other heroes notice this and switch to Hunting behaviours.
    4. Said Hunting behaviours cause those heroes to deal damage to the hostile aliens.
    5. Said damage causes the hostile aliens to die.
    6. -Happy Than Pritcher! -Than Pritcher Happy!

    So the Context for this sequence of events, passed along at every stage, would keep a simple record of all the factors- each seperate entity- which contributed to the final result. (In many cases this could piggyback directly on the function call stack, so it's quite simple to implement.)

    Since our hero considers the final result to be a Good Thing, his valuation of all the seperate entities that caused this good thing to happen is increased- including, ultimately, the Sovereign. This also boosts morale for positively-affected characters, which makes them a little more effective in combat and rather less likely to retreat. (This effect is particularly powerful if the Sovereign intervenes in person.)

    This is how the Sovereign can built up the loyalty of individual heroes. If you help them out- directly or indirectly- their loyalty toward you improves. And if you hurt them- directly or indirectly- then their loyalty is lowered.

    (This system has a lot of other potential benefits, with some possible complications and limitations. I might discuss them at some other point, but I'd just point out that this system works equally well for allowing heroes to establish relationships with eachother- for better or worse.)

    The benefits of loyalty:

    Characters with high loyalty:
    1. Are less likely to leave your settlement, more likely to defend their settlement, and are much harder to bribe or subvert.
    2. Might be willing to perform important missions for free. (In fact, they might be insulted if you offer them cash.)
    3. Can be recruited into your permanent Household. Household members don't need to be bribed into action at all (as long as their loyalty stays high enough, of course.)

    Possible factors that reduce characters' loyalty

    1. Betrayal. If you promise them a particular reward for doing a job, you'd better keep your word.
    2. Offending their moral code. (e.g, recruiting Shapers could lower a Palatine's opinion of you.)
    3. Disappointment- Sending them on missions that prove to be more trouble than they're worth.
    4. Disrespect- If you summon them to the palace for a private discussion, don't keep them waiting.
    5. Time- It just decays gradually?
    6. Having a really large income surplus and not doing anything with it. Your citizens expect you to use those credits to improve the settlement, pay for boons or commissions, or increase alms and wages. Failing that, they'll demand a lowering of taxation, tithes, levies and duties to split the difference more equitably. Keep that currency in circulation!

    Bear in mind that all these effects 'spill over' to other members of your settlement- so treating individual characters badly can sour your reputation in general. Conversely, an overall reputation for fairness and generosity might precede you, boosting your relationship with strangers and fresh recruits.
    Last edited by Alfryd; 21-11-2009 at 13:04. Reason: Cleanup

  17. #77
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    "Yes! See him there, this man who believes he cannot be bought! See him detained there by a million shares of himself sold in dribbles every second of his life. If you took him up now and shook him, he'd rattle inside. Emptied! Sold out! What difference how he dies now?"
    -The Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, Dune

    "Ah! Curse your sudden yet inevitable betrayal!"

    "He's a psycho. You know that."
    "He's not the first psycho we've worked for, and he won't be the last."
    "I just have this mental image of a man hanging from the ceiling."
    "I have an image of it not being me. Let's do the job."
    -Firefly


    Of course, it's possible you could take more of a Lawful Evil approach to government- never risking yourself personally and conserving effort by neglecting others' welfare, but amassing enough cash and intelligence that you can brainwash, bribe or blackmail others into service. Again, every faction has potential for both good and evil... and both can be effective.

    ...To be honest, even the most benign ruler might have to get their hands dirty on occasion, and even the most callous despot could sometimes find a soft touch beats an iron fist. But both approaches need built-in limitations and repercussions.


    More sketchies-
    In reading order:

    An alternate/sample Archon, with a minor mutation (taking a cue from NGE's angels.) Did I mention these are tough SOBs?

    The Krech Matriarch (strictly vegetarian, like all Krech. The Matriarch only develops when a critical population density of Krech is reached. If you get one of these in your settlement, you'll probably never get rid of 'em.)

    Some (cloned) members of the Collective- freeborn ecologists, all at different ages.

    Finally, the (hermaphrodite) Sept Mother in her secondary and tertiary life stages. (Based on the Hybrid from BSG, the axolotl tanks from Dune, and also the aforementioned Ooloi/Asari.) Both humans and spacers can become one, and the 'transition period' constitutes the primary life stage. During the scondary life stage, s/he acts as an envoy and diplomat to harvest gene samples. The tertiary life stage serves both as an incubator for young spacers, and as a jumpship's navigation/life support capability.
    As you can see, Spacers take the term 'Mothership'... quite literally.

    Also, a very rough concept of the Oracle.
    Last edited by Alfryd; 21-11-2009 at 13:05. Reason: Cleanup

  18. #78
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    Speaking of leadership, don't forget it's possible to have a libertarian hand off approach where individuals in the community are powerful enough to get things done on their own. Instead of having to rally a group to complete tasks, with this approach, you cultivate a few powerful characters who can single handedly take care of the problem. The rest is pretty much anarchy and Laissez-faire economics.

  19. #79
    ...It's nice up here! Alfryd's Avatar
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    I'd be all in favour of the idea- possibly creating little sub-estates for other Highborn- but the demands made on the AI could also be considerable. Still, if the game ever features true AI-built and AI-controlled kingdoms, it might make for a very interesting addition.
    ...Of course, the risk here is that a sufficiently powerful vassal might try to usurp you. Anarchy isn't actually a stable arrangement of human affairs... then again, that might actually suit the Shapers'/KotSF attitude to government rather well.
    Last edited by Alfryd; 17-11-2009 at 21:44.

  20. #80
    ...It's nice up here! Alfryd's Avatar
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    Rock, Paper, Scissors: Weapon and Damage Mechanics, Sample Weapons, Armour Progression, and remarks on AI

    “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”
    -Han Solo, Star Wars

    "With my trusty Monteba? Any time."
    -Togusa, Ghost in the Shell

    "An elegant weapon, for a more... civilised age."
    -Obi-wan Kenobi, Star Wars

    "Well they tell you: never hit a man with a closed fist. But it is, on occasion, hilarious."
    -Mal Reynolds, Firefly

    "The shield turns the fast blow, admits the slow kindjal!"
    -Dune

    "Your superior intellects are no match for our puny weapons!"
    -Kang and Kodos, the Simpsons



    Ah, where would SF be without lasguns, photon torpedoes and power armour? ...Arrakis, probably. But anyway:

    Shields trump Ranged and Energy Weapons
    Ranged and Energy Weapons trump Armour
    Armour trumps Physical and Melee Weapons
    Physical and Melee Weapons trump Shields

    In addition, characters can try to Dodge or Parry attacks- which might require actual animations to that effect. If a character tries to dodge an Area-of-Effect attack, s/he has to physically move outside the AoE- which might be impossible without jumping, rolling, ducking, etc.

    There are various obvious provisos you could add here: Shields and energy weapons consume power, parrying needs a melee weapon, physical weapons can't parry energy weapons, dodge attempts are encumbered by armour, ranged attacks need line of sight and are very hard to parry, energy weapons can have types: plasma, sonic, phase, electric, etc. etc.

    I don't imagine the majority of classes are limited to the use of one particular weapon/armour combination. The real catch is here is designing an AI that can take the differences between various forms of weapons, items and armour into account. I covered this subject under 'window shopping' in the Generic AI thread, but in summary, you have to allow heroes to acquire 'virtual copies' of various items and abilities, which let them test out their hypothetical effects in the field before committing to a purchase. (Evaluating the hypothetical effects of an action before actually using would be enormously helpful to AI in general.)

    And please, for the love of Gods, do let's have a sequel where characters with ranged weapons use hit and run attacks, or at least don't stand there like dumb schmucks while melee characters make mince of them.

    Armour Types: Partial Armour, Body Armour, Power Armour, Myrmidone Armour. Several of these could be combined, provided they're not adjacent on the scale- (e.g, partial armour combines with power armour or myrmidone armour, but not body armour.)
    *- Any of these could be combined with Shields.
    *- Power Armour augments strength but lowers dexterity. Myrmidone armour, more so.
    *- The actual quality of armour (and weapons) depends on the skill of the Artificer who creates them.

    Sample Weapons or Abilities:
    *- Plas-sabre: Precise light melee energy (plasma) weapon. Yes, it's a lightsabre ripoff, (but actually makes sense here.)
    *- Konoch: Heavy melee physical weapon. (Klingon Bat'leth, say hello.)
    *- Sonic Projector: AoE (cone) energy (sonic) weapon
    *- Wooden Spear: Precise light physical (melee or ranged) weapon

    Precise weapons take better advantage of dexterity, while heavy weapons have minimum strength requirements. Finally, these might represent some of the sample abilities available to, say, the Xenopath-

    *- Arc Lightning: Heavy melee energy (electric) attack
    *- Disintegrate: Heavy ranged phase attack
    *- Shockwave: Heavy AoE (burst) physical attack

    Part Cyborgs, Full Cyborgs and Artilects
    These are potentially quite interesting, since Androids and- depending on how far cyberisation has progressed- Cyborg characters might have to be repaired rather than actually healing, and their weaponry or armour might be built-in (giving a boost in skill/efficiency,) rather than equipped. Then again, the Keepers of the Secret Fire and nanotech in general might help redress that imbalance.


    Weapons of Mass Destruction

    "The use of atomics on human beings shall be cause for planetary obliteration."
    -The Great Convention, Dune

    "You maniacs! You blew it up! God damn you. God damn you all to hell!"
    -Planet of the Apes


    Atomics, bioweapons, nanophages, antimatter conversion, artificial black holes- there are any number of ways to reduce a planet, it's inhabitants, or selected portions thereof to their constituent stardust and mop up aterwards. The problem is that ALL of these things are gigantically illegal. If you try to pull a stunt like this without gathering massive political and social support (by fair means or foul,) you will most likely prompt immediate and terrible military retribution from other star systems- every other noble house or faction will put aside their differences and pound on you instead.


    Recovery and Injury

    "I can't believe I'm saying this... but that was really exciting! I've never felt so alive! -What else can we slay!?"
    -'Leegola', Futurama

    "It's a rock! It doesn't have any vulnerable spots!"
    -Galaxy Quest


    *- Healing is harder to model plausibly in an SF environment, since there's no magic.
    *- So... why not change the mechanics of injury? When a character reaches 0 HP, they... just fall unconscious.
    *- Injured or unconscious characters lose health gradually, until they receive medical attention.
    *- Characters die if attacked when unconscious (or reach a certain threshold of negative health.) However, enemies ignore unconscious targets while there are other, active, enemies around.
    *- Health paks and actual healing skills can only restore up to 1/2 (or 2/3, or maybe 3/4) of a character's health, and these can only be applied outside of combat. Remaining health has to regenerate naturally.

    ...So, if even one member of a party is standing at the end of a battle, he or she can get the others on their feet, administer health paks, or otherwise make sure they get medical attention. (This assumes, of course, that heroes habitually travel in parties WITHOUT the player needing to intervene.)


    Life, Death, and everything in between

    "Removal of all limitations means removal of all points of reference. In the landscape of wild possibilities you cannot orient yourself and say, 'I am myself because I am here.'"
    -Dune

    "The world with nothing. The world with nobody."
    "The world of freedom."
    "Freedom?"
    "The world of freedom that would never be constrained by anybody."
    "Is this freedom?"
    "Yes. The world of freedom. As a result, there's nothing."
    -Neon Genesis Evangelion


    Cloning can be used to 'resurrect' a character physically, but the problem is restoring memories. If brain tissue can be recovered then, sure, it's possible that most of a character's skills and knowledge could be restored, but maybe characters could also 'backup' their memories to a central database (the Collective and Initiates might provide the service,) or maybe a certain degree of 'XP loss' would be in order, or maybe the Gaia Effect or Monoliths could obligingly reconstruct individual personalities.

    The use of these technologies- Cloning and Memory Backups- raise other questions though. For starters, legality aside, what's to stop you from cloning entire armies of a given individual? Or, what's to stop you from transferring one character's memories into another character's body, even an Android or Oracle? Would clones need to be the same age? Could you have a Cylon-style cycle of pereptual resurrection into new bodies, never ageing, never dying?

    Heck, why stop there- add in the skills of genetic manipulation and nanotech, and it's possible to turn just about anyone into just about anything- and vice versa. You could theoretically turn a krech into a blade-runner-style replicant, or a human into a spacer, or a logician into an archon.

    The point I'm trying to make here is that the limitations on the use of science in the setting are mainly social and political, not technical. Everything has been invented already. Stepping outside the box like this isn't a technological problem, it's a legal problem- rather similar to the use of WoMD, for similar reasons, and with similar repercussions. (Yes, even the Shapers/KotSF do have certain ethical standards.)
    Last edited by Alfryd; 19-11-2009 at 15:25. Reason: Cleanup

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