I Can Haz Tr3sure Hunt?- Suggestions for a Gamist Sequel

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Alfryd

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Since I'm (loosely) basing my suggestions for a simulationist follow-up on cyberlore's prototype for Majesty: Legends, I was thinking that Majesty : Treasure Hunt (or what little we know of it) would be a good starting point if Paradox intends to take the series in a more solidly gamist direction.
(Recap on GNS theory.)

Essentially, you'd get rid of base-building entirely, and adopt an approach somewhere between a traditional RPG dungeon-crawl, lightweight MMO, and Real-Time-Tactical titles such as Myth II. You'd lead a band of heroes- starting with just yourself and an apprentice in the early game, later graduating to command large raiding parties- through a mazelike subterranean environment chock full of monsters, traps and precious loot! Other players are competing to do likewise, so you'll eventually meet in the middle of the labyrinth and battle it out to claim the rich booty at the heart of the map.

Since this is intended to appeal to Gamists, individual matches would be relatively short- perhaps 10 to 30 minutes- and you would have a very hands-on approach to managing your forces. Hero AI is strong enough that most heroes can fend for themselves competently without direct orders, but- since you're actually present in person- you can issue commands to individual troops, which, (if reasonable,) will be directly obeyed. The 'if reasonable' clause prevents this from being direct control- troops may still desert or ignore your orders if self-preservation or conflicted loyalties dictate otherwise. This allows you to keep micromanagement to a minimum while still allowing you to pull off quite subtle and intricate tactics and exert one-on-one authority when it's strictly essential.

Individual heroes can be assigned broad tactical roles that determine how they will, by default, behave in battle- specifically, Scout, Guard, Striker, and Support.

Scouts foray far ahead of the main party, use stealth whenever possible and proceed cautiously. They do not engage enemies unless cornered or once they rejoin the main group, but report back to the main party once they have assessed sufficient threats to warrant return.

Guards stay close to the main party and quickly come to the aid of heroes in mortal danger (particularly delicate support classes.) They will not normally pursue fleeing enemies unless instructed. Guards can be optionally assigned to protect one party member in particular.

Strikers pursue fleeing enemies and run them down, and specifically target vulnerable opponents in critical support roles. They will not normally aid endangered comrades nearby unless specifically instructed.

Support remain behind defensive lines when possible, but provide back up to offensive party members by indirect methods- ranged fire, backstabs, healing, blessings/curses or offensive spells. They will try to avoid direct one-to-one engagements if possible. Support can be assigned to give especial priority to one party member in particular.

Heroes can be assigned particular overall formations that they will fill in accordance with their tactical roles- guards on the perimeter, stikers to the fore, scouts ahead, and support to the back and centre. Many classes derive defensive/offensive bonuses from the right formations. Larger parties can have some of their members assigned to lieutenants, which can themselves perform broad tactical decisions on behalf of those under their command, and allows you to build up a chain of command to further alleviate micromangement.

ALL your heroes- not just a single 'Lord'- are stored online and retained from match to match, with automatic match-making services used to ensure that you only go up against opponents with similar track records and total strength of hero forces. Your heroes can also develop relative affinities or dislikes, depending on who gets a share of the treasure and who has come to their aid in the past, which in itself becomes a significant tactical consideration. Heroes expect a fair cut of the loot for their efforts and will be displeased if you can't deliver on that score, possibly leading to desertions between matches. (Poor command decisions and unreasonable orders will also lead in time to frictions with your troops.)

In between matches, your party can visit town and split up to sell and purchase items or upgrades, along with various temple blessings (to represent 'sovereign spells') that will generally last the duration of the next match.

Hero death should actually be quite rare and unusual in this system- whenever HP are reduced to zero, the hero simply 'falls unconscious' and is ignored until the match is won (generally by claiming the McGuffin at the heart of the map.) Serious casualties only result in the event of a total-party-KO, in which case some of your heroes will die and the rest are captured- and must, thereafter, be ransomed from their captors. (Resurrections are possible in major cities, but require victories on various punishing maps to retrieve the McGuffins needed to complete that resurrection, or earn favour with the temple faction.) Each city has a number of adjacent dungeons and cities which you can travel to each 'turn'.

As you've gathered, you, as king (or-king-to-be,) are personally present to command your heroes under this system, which means you can upgrade your stats and attributes like any other hero, and customise your build to a great degree.


So... that's the overall design concept as I'd imagine it. High points-of-contact, considerable skill supremacy, and bragging rights thanks to the leaderboards ranking parties in order of experience and reputation. But there's a whooole pile of features from majesty-as-we-know it that would have to be thrown out in the process.
 

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I wouldn't be opposed to a Majesty cRPG. :)
 

Alfryd

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I was thinking, actually, that you could set this sort of game back in the time of High King Sydrian, who (according to the histories), spent most of his life leading his heroes in person against the Witchking. It would provide a nice historical context for this sort of gameplay.
 

Spiderman

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What's "cRPG"?

If it's like what Alfryd is describing, it sounds more party-based than what HoA has to offer (although I guess it's the next best thing).
 

Alfryd

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If it's like what Alfryd is describing, it sounds more party-based than what HoA has to offer (although I guess it's the next best thing).
Pretty well. But the idea would be to have parties for each player, that then compete against eachother. Closer to Team Fortress than Neverwinter Nights, but with AI for other team members.

Now that I think about it, setting the game back in Sydrian's time could be quite interesting, from an artistic standpoint: You could take a much more ancient-world approach to the various classes and locations, to reflect a more technologically primitive setting.

Since I had nothing better to do, I drew some pictures...
ghensemble.gif


Since these classes are all based about... oh, call it 600 years before Maj 1, you're looking at world that's missing a lot of the elements of the original game: there are only 3 (official) gods, no elves, no undead, and no rangers, wizards or wizard-created monstrosities. So, you'd really have to come up with a different portfolio of heroes. Going from left to right, you have:

The Gladiator: Lightly armoured heavy melee, (with optional animal companion.) Possible 'ancestor' of cultists and WoDs. Proficient with a wide variety of martial weapons, adept at capture and skilled in both lethal and nonlethal combat.

The Immortal: Elite heavy infantry of the Helian golden kingdoms- shield acts as a divine talisman for the sun's energies, giving access to potent fire magic. Both spear and shield can be used in melee, or thrown at range.

The Shadowdancer: Gymnast devotees of Lunord that can jump from shadow to shadow. Shadowdancers often go blindfold and enter a narcotic trance in order to scry, or better attune their senses to work in pitch darkness.

The Acolyte: A forerunner to priestesses and healers (but technically attached to the Helian priesthood,) acolytes are well-versed in both healing their allies and cursing their enemies, in addition to being expert in potion-making and embalming.

The Centaur: Distant relations of the elves, dryads, and satyrs, exiled from Fey for several centuries, reasons unknown. Endurance and speed allow centaurs to excel in hit-and-run attacks with missile weapons, but they demand open ground.

The Homunculus: The bodyguards of Lunord's priesthood, homonculi are intelligent wind-elementals tethered within a golem's body. Ill-suited to close combat despite an imposing stature, they prefer to unleash spells of cold and force from a safe distance.

The Philosopher: Freethinker forerunners to the monk and wizard with a bewildering array of chemical formulae and mechanical devices at their disposal. Combat value nil, but with time to prepare they can be formidable foes.

The Mother of Steel: Dwarven Krolm-worshippers who emphasise His aspects as divine craftsman and shaper of life. Employ powerful protective spells, crafting skills, minor healing, and the ability to fashion golems of clay, stone or metal.

The Sorceror: This gifted mystic from the east boasts a handful of spectacular and taxing spells (e.g thunderbolt/gate), but illusion, mind control, telekinesis and other subtle, economic magicks are favoured by this wily sage.
 
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unmerged(83445)

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Nifty ideas there. Puts me in the mind of Dominions 3, which is pretty interesting in the sense that you can play the game in 3 different epochs, and most races play completely different across them. (ie. A highly organized militaristic society that dabbles in necromancy ends up being in the later ages a civilization of death and almost purely composed of undead beings and necromancers.)

Would be fun to see something like this transplanted in the Majesty universe, and as to how all these legends took root.
 

Alfryd

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Nifty ideas there. Puts me in the mind of Dominions 3, which is pretty interesting in the sense that you can play the game in 3 different epochs, and most races play completely different across them. (ie. A highly organized militaristic society that dabbles in necromancy ends up being in the later ages a civilization of death and almost purely composed of undead beings and necromancers.)

Would be fun to see something like this transplanted in the Majesty universe, and as to how all these legends took root.
It sounds like an interesting play concept, but I'm talking more about a game just set in one epoch- y'know, taking it easy on the content team. :p (Actually, I got the wrong dates here- this would have to be set at least 900 years before maj1.)

Again, I'm just throwing out ideas here, and I'll try to get back to the sim-suggestion thread shortly- but I'd like to get this out of my head first. Anyways: More pics!-
gbossesensemble.gif


The usual suspects: From top-left to bottom-right, you have Scrylia, the Serpent Queen (in human and wyrm form), the Witchking, a Medusa Bull, and none other than High King Sydrian himself- on the next line, you have Cedarweyn (a daemonwood general,) a Barbarian Shaman, the Goblin Queen, a Dryad Enchantress, and the Flammifer. You can think of these as 'boss monsters' in some form or other, though not all are unequivocally hostile, and not all are meant to be defeated- (Sydrian, for instance, is probably controlled by the player directly.)

Scrylia is an interesting figure here, because the player can't directly beat her- she's among the oldest of her race and a powerful sorceress to boot. Fortunately, Scrylia's objective was never to destroy humanity, but to enslave it- which was why she created several 'master breeds' of serpent-hybrids which she could more easily control (or so she thinks.) All the player has to do is divert her attention onto weaker pickings (e.g, the goblins,) and wait for the mutiny to take it's toll.

The main Big Bad is the Witchking (about a thousand years younger and substantially less (un)dead than the last time we saw him, he is now a figure of stunning physical perfection.) I thought that having the witchking as something similar to a dryad would explain a lot about him- his magical ability, allegiance to the daemonwood, pointy ears, etc. The underlying subtext here is that some kind of civil war, conflict, or social shift occurred within Fey about a thousand years before the first game, which precipitated the witchking's arrival, along with the exodus of the centaurs and other species to ardania (including, eventually, the elves.))

I should remark that this is all set shortly after the Six Winters' War between the city states and the barbarians, and a general period which saw intense hostility between all religions but especially against Krolm's followers- so the barbarians are pretty well outright enemies of civilisation at this point. ...which means no barbarian heroes.
The other social factor is the emergence of the new Gods- fervus, krypta, dauros and agrela. They don't officially exist yet and won't be duly recognised for centuries, but they are starting to exert their influence in various minor ways which the spiritually attuned can exploit.


And the Flammifer? Well, let's just say that he, she, or it has his, her, or it's own rather opaque agenda... and I thought it looked cool.
 
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Draxynnic

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As a comment on the younger gods exerting their influence, it probably is worth mentioning that the paladins of Majesty apparently had Sydrian's knights as a major inspiration. This suggests a couple of things: First, that the Knights are forerunners to paladins. Second, that Sydrian's time might not be classical so much as mythological Dark Ages - akin to Charlemagne or even better, with the Chalice/Grail reference, Arthur.

This doesn't mean that there can't be 'leftovers' from more classical times, however.

I'm curious as to exactly what you see the philosophers doing. The Greek philosophers tended to be associated with things like gigantic mirror arrays rather than, well, actual combat, but that seems to put the Philosopher's Guild as a building required to construct advanced defensive structures rather than a source of a hero type. (Which is especially unsuitable if this is to be a non-base-building version...)
 

Alfryd

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You're absolutely on the money when it comes to Sydrian's quasi-arthurian inspiration, but bear in mind that the real-world arthurian myth cycle probably had it's origins during the late Roman period- which is why I've gone with something simlar to a centurion's outfit for Sydrian.

As for the philosopher- a couple of these classes are intended at least partly for comic relief, so you could imagine the philosopher whipping an oversize trebuchet out of his knapsack if push came to shove- or maybe he runs around with a gaggle of gnomish porters to carry his stuff for him. :) Again, this is a gamist, rather than simulationist approach, so I'm not overly concerned with realism when it comes to actual gameplay. Still, there's always greek-fire...
 

Alfryd

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On the subject of paladins, the Legends prototype did actually feature an 'amazon' class at the temple to dauros (though this was a much later historical period...) but you raise a good point about the knights/paladins connection. Of course, the 12 paladins of charlemagne were named after high-ranking roman officials, or palatines, and there were roman equivalents to knights, so I think the roman motif is a good way to represent the transition from the ancient world through to the middle ages and renaissance.
</ramble>

I might have one or two further suggestions for the hero lineup, but I think that's about all I've got ideas-wise for now...
 

Draxynnic

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Your historical point is true - as I probably should have specified, it was all the Egyptian references that I was eyeing off rather than the Roman.

I'd point out that the classical legion was obsolete by this stage, but that's probably being overly nitpicky.
 

Alfryd

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There is no such thing as too nitpicky. :p But I guess fantasy settings usually mung technology from several centuries apart together- I guess I'm just dialing the average back a millennium or two. :)

I just put up two new classes (Mother of Steel and Sorceror) in the hero post, for anyone interested...
 

Draxynnic

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There is no such thing as too nitpicky. :p But I guess fantasy settings usually mung technology from several centuries apart together- I guess I'm just dialing the average back a millennium or two. :)

This is what I was thinking by 'overly nitpicky' - as you say, fantasy tends to be anachronistic in general, and the difference between post-Roman and, er, late middle-Roman (the lorica segmentata was introduced later than people think, around the second century AD if I recall rightly, but also got phased back out in favour of returning to mail and scale before the fall), and Dark Age inheritors of formerly Roman holdings (and even lands that were never part of the Roman Empire) did like to use Roman trappings as badges of office.

In a similar manner, the Egyptian themes are probably less anachronistic than they may appear at first glance - such accouterments in turn probably continued to see use much more recently than people tend to think. However, they are different enough from Arthurian to appear as an anachronism, at least when put side-to-side in the same civilisation.

I just put up two new classes (Mother of Steel and Sorceror) in the hero post, for anyone interested...
Hrrmn. From the description of the Sorcerer's Abode, I always say the Majesty Sorcerer as a wild-man shaman-type performing his magic through exuberant dances, rather than the dignified scholar that your concept suggests.
 

Alfryd

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This is what I was thinking by 'overly nitpicky' - as you say, fantasy tends to be anachronistic in general, and the difference between post-Roman and, er, late middle-Roman (the lorica segmentata was introduced later than people think, around the second century AD if I recall rightly...
Really? Wikipedia's telling me it dates to 9 BC, but anyways...
I should mention that to a degree, some of these classes do represent 'hangers-on' from older civilisations (Helia's kingdoms and priesthood, for instance, were probably all-but destroyed by the earlier wars.)
Hrrmn. From the description of the Sorcerer's Abode, I always see the Majesty Sorcerer as a wild-man shaman-type performing his magic through exuberant dances, rather than the dignified scholar that your concept suggests.
Good point, actually. Pity- I kinda liked the concept. I guess that the development of the Abode might have triggered a change in their modus operandi, but the shaman angle could also prove fruitful. I was more worried about the MoS, but I thought it would be refreshing to have a relatively atypical dwarven hero in the mix...
 
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Alfryd

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True. But what's JC got to do with it? :p
I've tried an indian-guru approach to the sorceror and tweaked the MoS a bit... Any better?
 

Draxynnic

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What Julius Caesar has to do with it is the amount of fiction and semi-fiction set during his time that puts lorica segmentata on legionnaires. Asterix being the most visible but far from the sole example.

The new Sorceror looks a lot closer to how I'd visualise them from the Sorceror's Abode description.
 

Alfryd

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What Julius Caesar has to do with it is the amount of fiction and semi-fiction set during his time that puts lorica segmentata on legionnaires. Asterix being the most visible but far from the sole example.
I realised that shortly after posting. Well, that's hollywood for ya... anyways, I'm glad the sorceror fits in better now. I have a couple of other monster sketches that it occurred to me could be used for dark side/monster kingdom suggestion threads too, so I'll see how that works out.