Last time, I talked about how the Dungeon in my work in progress will work. Today, it’s a matter of talking about the Encounter part of the dungeon.
After all, what good is an adventure without a little danger?
Each dungeon card will define how many monsters of what relative power will appear, but the Encounter decks will determine just what types of things your plucky band of rogues will face down.
The encounter decks will be arranged by ‘level’ which is mostly just a convenient way to keep you from facing the boss in the first room or a couple of goblins with rusty daggers in the last.
These decks would be assembled before the game with specific creatures to help the ‘theme’ of the dungeon. This allows the game to be expanded if it works well, but also presents an easy ‘boxed game’ for the people who don’t want to expand it. But those goals matter less to the immediate design, what makes an encounter card?
I’ve got two ideas I plan to test: monsters and traps.
Monsters are the thing that make combat. They’ll need all the statistics the raiders will have. Right now, I know I need a damage stat, a life stat, I want to make armor important, initiative, and range. Only four stats, and one of them isn’t going to be very important except to keep the game flowing.
Damage is pretty simple: It’s how much pain a monster can dish out. Without traditional attack rolls, this number is fairly predictable, making each combat more like a competitive puzzle
Life is another simple one: If you take damage equal to your life, you’re dead. Or the monster is.
Armor is where things get a little tricky. Because there aren’t attack rolls, armor can only affect one thing, which is damage. As a direct ‘debuff’ to damage, it’s essentially multiple points of life over time. This means low level monsters aren’t likely to be able to have it, since it puts them outside of the capabilities of early game heroes.
Initiative is only there to keep turns moving, and mix up how things attack. I don’t plan on including a lot of initiative manipulation cards in the players tools, so the printed value is it.
The final value, range, allows weapons to differentiate more than just damage and their associated ability, and allows an extra element to combat, namely abstract positioning.
Traps, on the other hand, will be more passive threats, things like spinning blades, needle traps, collapsing walls, that only affect a combatant if they are unlucky. This will use the dice mechanics ‘whiff’ effects to apply attacks and other effects to combatants.
Next time, I’ll cover the rough copy of the combat rules so you can see how these statistics interact.
You’d think I’d be getting more done on Spring Break? Nope, stayed up late, played some games, vegged out.
Luckily I’ve started my game design before my brain left the building!
So I said I’d start talking about mechanics, so I’m going to start with the important thing in this case: the cards.
When I say card driven, I don’t mean you get a hand of cards and use them to play the game, I mean quite specifically that the cards are the game.
It begins with the Dungeon. The Dungeon is going to be a specially prepared deck of cards that are flipped over one at a time to reveal the challenges of each room of the dungeon. It’s basically a stacked deck with a rising difficulty curve to keep the players pushing towards that end boss.
Each dungeon card is going to be titled: fairly mundane things like ‘narrow hall’ or ‘cavern’. It will have an effect on the encounter, be it ‘darkness’ which makes die rolls harder, or special hazards when you roll poorly.
It will also list the monsters that need to be dealt from the leveled encounter decks. In addition to fixed numbers, I’m going to include some way to simply add a number of monsters equal to the number of players. We’ll design that when we get there.
The final piece of information on the Dungeon cards is going to be the treasure roll. For now, I’ve decided to make this simple, roll one die, based on the dungeon card, and if you ‘crit’ you get one type of treasure, if you don’t crit you get another type (weaker), and if you ‘whiff’ you get nothing.
Oh, did I mention I plan on a unique set of dice for this game? Come back later to find out how the dice work.
So, taking a break from writing fiction in order to try my hand at game design again! I’ve entered a contest on a forum I’m a member of, and have decided to bust out an idea that’s been growing since I went to Unpub2.
At Unpub, I played a game called Dungeon Freakout! The game was a ‘cooperate/competitive’ game in which you attempted to earn points by collecting crystals while killing monsters. It was a cool idea, and made me want to approach the same goal the way I’d deal with it.
In this game, you, and three of your schmuck friends, go digging in the local dungeon to make a name for yourselves. With the castoff weapons of your parents and mentors, you’ll fight monsters, collect treasure, and, if all goes well, survive!
The party must face the various rooms of the dungeon, each with its own effects, traps, and monsters to face. When you kill fabled monsters, obtain legendary weapons, or survive deadly traps you gain honor. After you and your friends defeat the dungeon boss, the player with the most honor wins!
But the dungeon isn’t just waiting idle for you. Another player is the Dungeon Master. The Dungeon Master will do everything in his or her power to defeat the pillaging miscreants. If the party dies, the DM wins.
So it’s obvious, even if turning on your friends to keep them from gaining honor may be better for you in the long run, you may all end up as fresh blood stains on the stone if you don’t work together.
This is a very brief overview of the game, so my question for you: What do you think? This concept sound like fun?
Come back Wednesday, and I’ll discuss exactly what the Dungeon is, and how it functions.
SJ Driscoll tagged me in the 11 questions game. Normally, I put these off, but this one seemed interesting, so here we go.
The game rules are answer 11 questions asked of you, make up 11 more, and tag 11 people. We all know I’m not big on the chain letter aspect, but I’ll answer the questions for sure!
1) Which season, and why?
Fall. I like the mild weather, the color of the world, and I become grateful for the cold, before snow hits and I despise where I live.
2) What’s your earliest memory?
Good question. Pretty sure watching Return of the Jedi at my grandparents when I was six or so, even if it’s only a couple of scenes.
3) Cats or dogs? (Birds? Fish?)
Mice and rats. Though snakes aren’t bad, either.
4) Tea or coffee?
Neither. Never liked coffee, and I haven’t found a tea I enjoy. Water and occasional sodas for me.
5) Hogwarts or Rivendell?
Rivendell, no question.
6) What’s the top item on your life list?
Very good question. Publishing and creating are pretty much the big things on my lists, so that’s what I do.
7) Who would you be if you weren’t yourself?
I wouldn’t be. I learned to embrace who I am.
8) How would your life change if you won the lottery?
I wouldn’t worry about money so much. Would take a chance on one of those businesses I always wanted to run.
9) If you could travel anywhere, where would you go, and why?
Right now? I want to visit the Netherlands, a nice long visit. Between a few people I’ve met from the Netherlands, and TEDAmsterdam, I’ve fallen in love with the outlook they have as a society, and would love to get to know it better.
10) Which personal adornment (jewelry, tattoo, hair color, favorite clothing) means the most to you, and why?
I’ve never been physically focused, so I don’t really have a favorite. I have a pair of silver charms on a broken string that I keep still, and they represent things I believe in.
11) Would you rather travel into space or stay on Earth?
We talking colony ships? I’d stay on Earth. If we’re talking short jaunts to visit the planets, I’d love to take the trip!
My tag is simple: You. Pick any question from the list, and answer it in the comments!
So, late to the party, I got to see the Hunger Games! I enjoyed it, but coming home, I’ve now heard a flurry of complaints about the adaptation that I found incredible. And no, I don’t mean the crowd of fans complaining about Cinna and Rue’s race.
As for the movie, I was impressed, overall. The movie carried the major themes of the book quite well. The cast was spectacular, and Cinna was absolutely brilliantly portrayed by Lenny Kravitz.
Beyond the story, which didn’t break far enough from the book for me to worry about it, I absolutely loved the cinematography. A thing about the Hunger Games books is the amount of introspection that’s present. Katniss is often alone, and she spends a lot of time thinking. The movie was able to capture this in the specific shots they chose to portray key scenes, like the pyramid of food.
One scene I absolutely loved was Seneca Crane’s final scene in the movie. With no dialogue, we’re treated to Seneca coming to realize what the cost of failure is in the Capitol.
If you haven’t seen this one yet, definitely go out and do so when you have the chance!
Now, the review out of the way, I want to talk about adaptations in general. When it comes to book-to-movie adaptations, I’m a stickler. But it’s not the point to point remakes I look for (Though I did once upon a time). The key thing for me when evaluating a book-to-movie adaptation is the spirit of the story.
Let’s start with an adaptation I didn’t like. I did not like The Lord of the Rings. I feel a lot of the emotion that drove the book was missing, in favor of many more ‘kick-ass’ scenes. This may have been good for the movie goers, and when I shut off the critical side of my brain, I can enjoy the trilogy. But it never rang as a true adaptation.
But then we have the Hunger Games and the Golden Compass. I felt both of these movies were true to their source material, even if the latter diverged wildly in plot elements. The sense of despair and hope that was the key to the Hunger Games (And pointed out by President Snow) is still there, and much more immediate to the audience, since we don’t have to follow Katniss’s ever-calculating mind through the games. The Golden Compass kept that sense of wonder, and eventually, terror, that made the first His Dark Materials book so grabbing.
So when I say a movie adaptation of a book was good, I don’t mean to not read the book, I mean the movie stands on its own as a spectacular presentation of the story. I hope more people start looking at them the same way.