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RPGWatch Forums » Games » Indie RPG » Tactica: Maiden of Faith » Suggest a Skill

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September 16th, 2009, 21:06
Neat idea for some skills, but not for all. Crafting types, yes; diplomacy, no; cartography, yes; lockpick, no. If you're looking for realism, though, you'd probably have to have a pretty complex formula. Two heads building a suit of armor should see more gain than two heads building a necklace. Two apprentices working together shouldn't really gain much, and you'd like for a master craftsman to "outskill" the combination of a couple journeymen (if you're rating on a 1-10, you'd like a 10 to be better than a combination of a couple 6's). Maybe top score + (2nd best / 3) or some such?

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September 16th, 2009, 22:46
In D&D there's this thing called 'Aid Another'. Basically, the character with the highest skill makes the roll, and other characters with the skill make a roll to aid, if they succeed they add a bonus to the character's roll.
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September 16th, 2009, 22:58
This sounds cool.

I was wondering though about these skills. Just how deep is this game going to go? Will it have mundane skills like fishing or timbercraft like UnReal World? Or is it more combat and dialogue oriented in which you'd have intimidate, diplomacy, sense motive, etc.

The problem with a lot of dialogue skills is that you need enough dialogue and enough text to make it worth it. Like in TOEE how sense motive and a few other skills weren't really used that much.

I can imagine how difficult it is to keep the player's skills in mind when creating dialogue in these games.

As far as combat goes, it would be nice to have a skill for each weapon, or at least each weapon type along with fighting styles. What I mean with styles is, maybe have a skill for "Offensive Fighting" in which your character is aggresive, scores more hits, but is more open to hits as well.

Anyways, I wish you all luck on this. I'm sure it'll be cool no matter.
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September 17th, 2009, 08:23
Will it have mundane skills like fishing or timbercraft like UnReal World?
It will not have timbercraft ( hmm but maybe it can be a kind of crafting to make for example longbows?? ), however it might have fishing… or fishing might be included in the "hunting" skill.

It is conversation and combat heavy, even if it has a bunch of other things too……..

In D&D there's this thing called 'Aid Another'. Basically, the character with the highest skill makes the roll, and other characters with the skill make a roll to aid, if they succeed they add a bonus to the character's roll.
Sounds interesting I guess it would kind of work like this but not exactly… it will not have a D&D like roll system….
Last edited by GothicGothicness; September 17th, 2009 at 15:50.
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September 20th, 2009, 14:31
Just a throw-in to that luck thing: If your world contains some Goddess Of Luck aka Lady Luck or so, praying to her could increase the possibility to have better outcomes or so … Although "luck" as such is a neutral thing … So it could be applied into negative values as well …

It's like … something I know from TDE. There is an "extraordinary success" of the use of talents/skills - AND there is the exact opposite !

The exact opposite - more than a mere "fail" - should have some drastic consequences then, too.

But I feel that this would be rather liked by old-school RPGlers …

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October 5th, 2009, 04:46
On language: You can use a few custom-designed writing systems to represent languages in game. I've made three for my own project, with two more partially completed (I got bored). If a character has skill in that language, then they can translate it to the text box/log book/journal/whatever. I'm assuming, of course, that your going for full 3D etc… You could also just have overlaid text like in Might and Magic II-V, except that it changes from standard English writing to whatever if the appropriate skill isn't there.

Skills: There are some skills, IMO, that shouldn't be developed slowly. Cartography is pretty much useless in Eschalon; I used a spell which boosted it instead. The only issue was that the minimap would overwrite more advanced portions of a map afterwards with poorer detailed portions if you didn't keep it active constantly.

Swimming, no one should be getting in the water without having sufficient swimming skill. So you either have it, or you don't. Don't, your taking drowning damage.

This is basically what I'm doing; dividing skills into two sections. Those which advance in ability, like combat skills. And those which are presumed to be of sufficient skill to simply use, like Swimming. Basically, combining the older Might and Magic III-V skill system with Wiz8/ADOM etc…

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October 6th, 2009, 13:46
I disagree a tiny bit. Swimming can have levels for swimming, swimming faster, underwater swimming ….

Cartography: I can draw a map of my own ,but it would look like shit. If my character can draw maps he can be very detailed or not.
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October 7th, 2009, 03:14
Name a RPG where swimming is a skill, one that needs advancement, and is required for underwater areas.

I can't. I can think of some that you swim underwater, but it's automatically assumed the PC(s) can swim, some that have the skill as I suggested, but no underwater, and finally those that have an advanceable skill, still with no underwater and a distinct annoyance the rare times you actually need the skill when it fails irrespective of your skill level.

The party is only as fast as the slowest swimmer, and given that at least some will be wearing armor/toting bags of junk, I'd doubt "fast swimming" is going to be an issue. Staying afloat is hard enough in a mail hauberk. I wouldn't even want the weight of a longsword on my hip, and they are not heavy (but expensive, there's no way I'd leap into water with an Albion…).

As for maps, it's likely be ad-hoc, with the representation on screen being something entirely different from what the mapper is making. Irrespective, if he can't mark a tree, a river or body of water, or a path, then he has no business drawing the party's maps.

Either the map is useless due to a lack of detail (and thus make no sense to have the skill at all since it's unusable), or the detail is good enough that you don't need any development (thus making no sense to develop the skill further). Alternately, there's a spell/item/NPC which makes the skill a moot point.

In both cases, I feel it better to simply assume the character has enough skill to know what a tree is. Or a door. And draw some representation of it on a piece of papyrus. For swimming, they have the skill to keep afloat and even move in calm waters while loaded with 60-80lbs of weapons and armor. If they lack this skill, then they should be completely unwilling to get in the water.

If dumped in, that can be handled the same was as with a advanceable skill; with checks for each tile/time period/whathaveyou.

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October 7th, 2009, 10:32
The past doesn't have to be the present. It's not because old RPGs did or did not do something that this can not be done.

Even if swimming is assumed in most rpgs to be normal, it doens't have to be that way. Also reality doesn't play much of a role in a world where magic is involved, so swimming with a 500 pound suit of armour doesn't even have to play a role. It's the designer's choice to design the game's reality and physics in the way they want to do it.

Also, you could apply your thinking to a lot of things which would reduce a lot of stats to a single boolean. Lockpicking, pickpocketing…. Would you even try pickpocketing someone before knowing how to do it in real life ? Of course not, it doesn't make sense, but in many games it's a skill that can go from 0 to 100. What does pickpocketing of 5% mean ? No idea, but it's a game so it makes sense.

Swimming at 10% means you'd be able to swim normal strokes with effort and if you stayed in water too long, you'd start getting a penalty. swimming at 40% means you can do crawl strokes and swim faster while a 100% swimming would mean you'd be able to do butterfly strokes to kill a vampire in the water. The armour has no effect on swimming wahtsoever. BUT if the designer wants to he can make it have an effect.

Cartography is the same. Also, what you say about it is not true. How would you ever be able to draw a map if you don't start trying. Do you think you'd be able to draw one of Mercator's maps right now ? Probably not! But if you learn and keep practicing, then one day you might …

You don't start off drawing maps like an expert and yes, you wouldn't miss a tree, but as a novice cartographer, you might not draw all the details you see or not be very accurate at doing so. The more you practice the more you improve and the better your maps will be.
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October 7th, 2009, 14:48
The problem with cartography is, of course, metagaming. Let's say you played the game, next playthrough you know (if maps are fixed) where things are, chests, secret entryways, etc. The solution would be to have either random maps, or fixed maps with random elements. If your cartography is high enough, then the area you uncover will show randomly generated chests, NPCs, etc. Obviously this will be hard to do with secret places like concealed doors and what not, unless you do it 'instance like' (I find nothing wrong with that but some people don't like it)
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October 7th, 2009, 18:36
I don't think people who replay games mind knowing where some of the stuff is. People like Wulf and Uriziel on this forum have played Gothic I a zillion times and know every single spot on the map. Knowing where things are does not necessarily mean a degradation in enjoyment of a game.
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October 8th, 2009, 04:00
It does mean a degradation of challenge. I quit playing Bard's Tale when I realized I was only glancing at my maps when I hit the spinners. Otherwise I ran mostly from memory. It's still the same game though.

It's one thing to include physics-busting elements such as magic. It's another to beat the suspension of disbelief over the head until it gets a severe concussion. 500lb armor = no.

How will the player note that the characters are doing the dog paddle or a butterfly stroke? They won't. In fact, even in 3rd person games, you pretty much have 1 animation for swimming, one for treading water. Maybe two swimming, if they have a 'fast swim' as well as regular swimming. So where would the effect of the skill lie?

In the case of a first person perspective, you will never even see the actual physical (ok, digital) characters in water. Top down or third person you will, but in both cases, a big budget team won't both with more than a couple animations at best. Indie team? Forget it. If I heard that would be included, then I'd mark the project off as vaporware.

There's a difference between maps and art. I can easily map out anything I go to. Making art out of said map? Not hardly; my maps tell you where to go, nothing more. You're automatically assuming all maps must be artistic in saying that. When they don't (and rarely are). Most maps are crude, bare things with plain lines, text, and arcane symbols. Having a large collection of atlases from various wars, I know this to be a fact. They can even be difficult to read, due to the amount of information available (some have topographic information as well as troop deployment, movements, unit types, and place names). All in about 3 colors.

Funny thing is, I can sit here and draw any one of them right now, and be within 90%. If I'd get some glasses, that'd improve.

Either the map skill would be balanced so that you'd have all the information necessary at a bare minimum of skill; and thus never need to advance it more; or it would be worthless until very high levels of skill, and be superceded by online maps and hints (and wandering). Increasing the artistic quality of the automap would, IMO, cost a whole lot for little gain. It would require multiple redundant sets of artwork solely for each level of artistic mapping.

As to pickpocketing and picking locks, those are measured. People have perception levels (or skills, if it's included) which the thief's personal level of skill can be checked against, and there are a myriad methods of constructing a lock (or breaking it). They do not make sense to have as a static skill (like in Might and Magic III). Then again, even M&M games had thievery advance with the character, unique among all the skills.

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. I've made my case as well as I can (probably could have written a hell of a lot clearer and better, but I'm not Poe). You've made yours.

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October 8th, 2009, 15:57
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
I don't think people who replay games mind knowing where some of the stuff is. People like Wulf and Uriziel on this forum have played Gothic I a zillion times and know every single spot on the map. Knowing where things are does not necessarily mean a degradation in enjoyment of a game.
No but I'm talking about skills that are made useless because of metagaming. If you have a skill to spend points on to detect secret doors/traps, but the locations of secret doors and traps are fixed, why would you spend points on that skill on a second playthrough (if you the player have a good memory)?
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October 8th, 2009, 18:23
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
No but I'm talking about skills that are made useless because of metagaming. If you have a skill to spend points on to detect secret doors/traps, but the locations of secret doors and traps are fixed, why would you spend points on that skill on a second playthrough (if you the player have a good memory)?
If somebody plays the game for fun and for roleplaying and not for munchkininism/metagaming/achievements, they will have no need not spoil their own fun this way.

Otherwise you could also use a an invulnerability cheat as "metagaming".
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October 8th, 2009, 21:01
Originally Posted by bkrueger View Post
If somebody plays the game for fun and for roleplaying and not for munchkininism/metagaming/achievements, they will have no need not spoil their own fun this way.

Otherwise you could also use a an invulnerability cheat as "metagaming".
But that's different. I'm talking about skills. Does 'swordsmanship', 'spell power', 'sneak attack', 'charge', etc. become useless when you know what's coming? They don't, and for a skill like cartography to be always usable, they should provide something, like what I said, randomly placed chests, random secret areas, random traps, etc.
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October 9th, 2009, 17:41
But some skills do become useless. If you know how to play Fallout, most skills are useless. You go to that Brother of Steel, get some Power Armour and the game is a piece of cake. Most things can't hurt you anymore. If in Gothic you know where the Skeleton Bow is and you find it, you can one-hit kill most starting creatures and shoot again for some others without needing to spend tons of skill points. In GII, if you're smart enough , you can get that crazy sword from the cave and beat most of the game with it.

Roleplaying is for roleplaying, if your point is to remember every single exploit of a game and then not use any of the skills so be it. But it doesn't mean they're useless.

There's a way some games are 'supposed' to be played. In GI, you enter the Old Camp, get led to either the sect camp or the new camp and choose which faction you would want to join. But you could go to the new camp first or the old mine first (for the bow).

You can approach every thing in the way you describe. Why have quests then ?
They're going to be mostly static, what's the point for them once you've played the game you'll know about them so there's no point in completing them again. What's the point in playing a game (if you want to go to the complete extreme…) ? All the games will have you run around, complete some quests which have nothing to do with anything whatsoever, get you some kind of currency where you can spend that currency on improving your character and then kill some big boss or save the world somehow !
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October 10th, 2009, 00:17
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
But some skills do become useless. If you know how to play Fallout, most skills are useless. You go to that Brother of Steel, get some Power Armour and the game is a piece of cake. Most things can't hurt you anymore. If in Gothic you know where the Skeleton Bow is and you find it, you can one-hit kill most starting creatures and shoot again for some others without needing to spend tons of skill points. In GII, if you're smart enough , you can get that crazy sword from the cave and beat most of the game with it.

Roleplaying is for roleplaying, if your point is to remember every single exploit of a game and then not use any of the skills so be it. But it doesn't mean they're useless.

There's a way some games are 'supposed' to be played. In GI, you enter the Old Camp, get led to either the sect camp or the new camp and choose which faction you would want to join. But you could go to the new camp first or the old mine first (for the bow).

You can approach every thing in the way you describe. Why have quests then ?
They're going to be mostly static, what's the point for them once you've played the game you'll know about them so there's no point in completing them again. What's the point in playing a game (if you want to go to the complete extreme…) ? All the games will have you run around, complete some quests which have nothing to do with anything whatsoever, get you some kind of currency where you can spend that currency on improving your character and then kill some big boss or save the world somehow !
eh? I'm not getting this at all.
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October 10th, 2009, 18:04
Do you mind telling me what you don't get, so I could explain.
In brief, what I thought you were saying is that skills like carotgraphy can easily be rendered useless with multiple playthroughs unless the designer makes randomly generated maps and so on.
What I was saying that you can argue this for every skill in every game and thus it becomes a (mostly) moot point.
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October 11th, 2009, 05:05
In brief, what I thought you were saying is that skills like carotgraphy can easily be rendered useless with multiple playthroughs unless the designer makes randomly generated maps and so on.
What I was saying that you can argue this for every skill in every game and thus it becomes a (mostly) moot point.
You cannot argue that without becoming patently absurd. Most skills on a computerized RPG are centered around combat; if it has skills at all. Even without, the class structure still recognizes those with combat skills, and how good they are (the fighter class, higher levels, etc…)

Cartography is on no way, shape, or form on par in usage with any combat skill, magic skill, or thieving skill. It is a utility skill; and a passive one at that. Many games do away with it entirely (Wiz8 for example, Bard's Tale 3, Might and Magic VI/VII, Baldur's Gate…). THAT tells you it's importance.

I find it on par with language skills. It's either useless, or it's not. There is no middle ground where it's 'sorta' useful. It either gives you complete enough information, or it doesn't. Not many skills are like that. In fact, other than language skills (which are very, very, very rarely used at all in computer games), I can't think of one less used.

Push come to shove, I can easily hand draw the maps. Wouldn't be the first time, as the sheafs of old graph paper with hundreds of maps sitting in my file cabinet can attest.

That Power Armor, that sword, are examples of either bad design choices, or choices made specifically to give players a VERY easy way to victory. Which is, IMO, a bad design choice (compromising the entire design just for those who cannot, in any case, complete anything more difficult than Pong).

Whats more, that sword should have been made worthless by virtue of the absence of skill with the sword. The Ultimate Sword of Destruction is still a sword, and from experience, one does not just swing a sword like a bat! Real swordsmen will quickly eviscerate you.

If the game is non-linear, then it should be built to handle things such as the player going to places the designer thought should come much later. If it is imperative that the player not go there, find a way to prevent it. Have the town under lock down, and needing a password to enter, or have them need to be certified Crusaders. Write around that instance, not ignore it and hope it doesn't happen (because it will).

If not, then it's bad design. You can note my statement on character death to see what I mean; the story should be written to adjust for eventualities such as a key character dying to a level 1 trap, or instead of going to Ankh-Morpork they went to Skara Brae.

Quests cannot be argued in this manner with any sense of logic or sanity; quests are simply objectives within the game. Some may not have anything to do with the main plot, some may. Without objectives, it's a sandbox with people running around butchering anything that moves with no real motivation, and it becomes Halo instead of an RPG.

You're confusing tertiary skills with primary; and somehow managed to blow the entire thing out of proportion.

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October 11th, 2009, 13:00
It's not really. I have played a very few amount of games where I was using combat skills as secondary and/or tertiary skills. Like you say it's the designer's choice.

He could make the language skill into one of the most important skills in his/her game if (s)he wanted to.
For example: The language skill could open up a completely new quest path that would not even involve any combat. Of course most designers do not do that, but it is possible.

You are talking about games of the past and it's very simple to fall in line with what happened before. Diablos came and then five thousand clones. Dune, AoE, five thousand clones….
However, you don't have to do that. You can change it.

You're saying:
- It has never been this way, look at my maps, look at these older games, look at this and that.
Conclusion : It can not be good to have it any other way.

I'm saying:
- It has never been this way. Look some people tried doing different things. They might not always work, but they could if people tried to do them well.
Conclusion: Why not try it out?

Basically, to go back to the cartography example. Cartography skill could make you make maps and the more you explore, and if you explore tons of places and your cartography skill is high enough to make really good maps then it could open a quest line where you would start out selling mediocre maps to travellers and move on to a quest where you would have to explore a certain place and map it out for some king in the game which would bring you into better favour towards that king and open up a new quest line which would not have been available to you without that skill.


However, I do AGREE with you (what a surprise ) about the other exploits being kind of bad design. BUT, when making a 50 hour game for players, you're bound to miss out on some things. Especially if you're trying to make the game sandboxy, the whole point is for the player to be able to explore everywhere. In GI for example if you can get hands on a potion of speed you can get to Xardas' tower quite easily (how you'd beat the golem's I don't know), which you wouldn't be able to do in a game like Diablo II with the different acts separating each area.

So, yes, cartography can be done away with, but it could be a very nice asset to a games designer if they actually do something good with it except for just drawing your own automap…

(By the way, I was gong to leave it at we both disagree with each other, but you're the one that replied to me this time, so I hope you don't mind me replying again )
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