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Default Fantasy tropes that need to go away

May 12th, 2013, 13:55
Originally Posted by Menigal View Post
Precariously balanced world:
This reminds me of another trope :

The world was fully at peace for let's say 5000 years - and suddenly, everything gets loose - as told by the author.

Really. This is something that bugs me all of the time. 5000 or even more years of peace - and SUDDENLY, when an eathling fantasy author wants to write about this specific world, everything breaks loose !


Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
A Trope that I despise is the benevolent King. Oh, and his Pal, the evil Vizier. Also selfless Nobles.
Play the adventure game called "Ceville" if you don't like that trope.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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May 12th, 2013, 14:20
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Play the adventure game called "Ceville" if you don't like that trope.
Adventures are usually not my genre of Games, I think the last one I played was Blade Runner and before that Loom - and this one looks also very - ahem - bright

The Germans are a cruel race. Their operas last for six hours and they have no word for "fluffy".

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May 13th, 2013, 10:59
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
This reminds me of another trope :

The world was fully at peace for let's say 5000 years - and suddenly, everything gets loose - as told by the author.

Really. This is something that bugs me all of the time. 5000 or even more years of peace - and SUDDENLY, when an eathling fantasy author wants to write about this specific world, everything breaks loose !
"For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire."
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May 13th, 2013, 11:06
Well, if there's one thing I'd really like to change - it's the emphasis on combat.

I would love to make combat something to fear and something you'd want to avoid in many cases. I'd like a combat system where you're in actual danger, even against trivial enemies. I'd like a combat system that takes everything you have - and where every enemy is a unique challenge - and not yet another goblin or zombie.

I'd like to reduce the amount of combat by a factor of ten - and instead make the journey about all kinds of different challenges. I want puzzles and riddles - and I want exploration which will satisfy for every step you take. I want the ability to communicate with 99% of the beings you encounter - and where your ability to sweet talk or intimidate means the difference between a certain fight and a companion for life.

The way combat is the absolute focus for almost every single RPG in the world - including all the golden classics - is something that gets harder and harder to appreciate as I grow older.

I feel there's so much untapped potential in the genre that has nothing to do with physical conflict - and I'm a HUGE fan of physical conflict. I just think it should be much more dangerous and much more like a real fight. That would greatly increase the tension and excitement of even the most common encounters.
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May 13th, 2013, 11:16
Sooooo, you want a Call of Cthulhu game?
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May 13th, 2013, 11:17
Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
Adventures are usually not my genre of Games, I think the last one I played was Blade Runner and before that Loom - and this one looks also very - ahem - bright
It looks. Yes. But it only looks.

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May 13th, 2013, 11:28
Originally Posted by Menigal View Post
Sooooo, you want a Call of Cthulhu game?
I wouldn't mind

But it's not about setting. It's about providing a greater variety of challenges - and expanding a rather narrow feature-set.

Also, I want an average dude with a sword to be something you respect. I want fights to be something that's very fast and very lethal, for the most part. I want an arm that gets chopped off to stay chopped off - except if you have access to really powerful magic.

So, any kind of non-trivial wound is something you should be afraid of - and therefore you'd better be really good at fighting

Today, no one fears entering combat - and the vast majority of fights are completely predictable. It's like the most exciting part of the game has somehow become one that's often the most trivial and boring part of it.
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May 13th, 2013, 11:55
It's not hard to run a tabletop game that way, but I think you'd have to adopt more of an adventure game label to get people to play a video game like that. I'm not saying it's impossible, but you'd have to be careful with people's expectations to avoid frustrating them.
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May 13th, 2013, 11:56
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I wouldn't mind

But it's not about setting. It's about providing a greater variety of challenges - and expanding a rather narrow feature-set.

Also, I want an average dude with a sword to be something you respect. I want fights to be something that's very fast and very lethal, for the most part. I want an arm that gets chopped off to stay chopped off - except if you have access to really powerful magic.

So, any kind of non-trivial wound is something you should be afraid of - and therefore you'd better be really good at fighting

Today, no one fears entering combat - and the vast majority of fights are completely predictable. It's like the most exciting part of the game has somehow become one that's often the most trivial and boring part of it.
I've been pondering this for quite a while. It's a strange thing. How would you make a game, especially an RPG, that has realistically dangerous combat but not frustrate the players or bore them without giving very much of it? I also agree that combat should be scaled down quite a bit. When I envision a game like that, it seems like something that wouldn't catch on with most people. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but a little disappointing.

Hit points, people that can be stabbed in the face 30 times, and murdering untold millions to save the world from destruction has had its fair share of time in our games. It's time for something new.
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May 13th, 2013, 12:51
Originally Posted by Korplem View Post
I've been pondering this for quite a while. It's a strange thing. How would you make a game, especially an RPG, that has realistically dangerous combat but not frustrate the players or bore them without giving very much of it? I also agree that combat should be scaled down quite a bit. When I envision a game like that, it seems like something that wouldn't catch on with most people. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but a little disappointing.
I have no interest in appealing to people who wouldn't enjoy that sort of thing.

But I would make combat a much more elaborate system - sort of like the systems in Mount and Blade or the ancient Die by the Sword - and expand upon them. I want combat to be a dance, where making a hit actually connect and do damage something of a rarity.

So, against the very best enemies - it could potentially take several minutes of dancing around, trying to land blows.

It wouldn't be anymore frustrating than a game like Dark Souls - where there's a significant barrier of entry, but which plays entirely fair.

As I said, combat would be rare - and it would be something you could avoid in most cases.

But it would also be possible to kill people in one shot with an arrow if you're a skilled archer. Since enemies could have bows as well, it wouldn't do to make you fight 20 guys at once. Most fights would be against very few enemies at a time.

If the content of the game was strong (which is everything, really) - then the player would WANT to invest in learning how to fight well - and it would actually mean something if you were good at it. It wouldn't be something everyone could easily do - and that's a good thing, in my book.

That said, I want power progression - and at the end of the game, I would want gear and magic to be so powerful that "normal" combat would be all but gone.

I just don't like endless filler combat where you're not threatened. I'd LOVE to feel true tension when going up against even a single enemy at the beginning of the game.

I also think there's something to be said for permanent wounds. As in, I want to have scars be visible - and I would actually want it to be possible to play with only one arm - in case you lost one in combat. It would make for a truly interesting roleplaying experience - which is often the smallest priority in modern RPGs.

Obviously, the kind of game I'm talking about is not an AAA mainstream game. I hope that's understood. It would be for an exclusive audience interested in investing themselves for appropriate rewards.

Combat wouldn't be the most novel part of the game - as I'm much more about immersion and exploration. Again, content is everything - and if you have a powerful story and a great world full of detail and interesting NPCs, people will go a very long way to adapt themselves to the game.

Systems can be perfect - but if the content is subpar or middling, it won't help much. However, if you have strong content - systems don't have to be all that great.

Naturally, I want everything to be strong - and combat should be avoidable through stealth/diplomacy/guile - which again is about roleplaying. I want people to be able to play thieves and merchants and be successful as well.

It seems most developers have forgotten about those things, and even games like TES which allow thievery and bartering - you can't really get around fighting things in most cases.
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May 13th, 2013, 13:35
Age of Decadence largely fits the bill here. Every combat counts, and it's tough as nails. Only a combination of smart skill development, the right gear, and tactics get's you through any of the combat encounters. On the other hand you generally have other skills that allow you to pursue non combat solutions.
The result is definitely not your typical RPG though - it gives character development and combat a silghtly puzzle-like quality.
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May 13th, 2013, 14:04
Originally Posted by Korplem View Post
I've been pondering this for quite a while. It's a strange thing. How would you make a game, especially an RPG, that has realistically dangerous combat but not frustrate the players or bore them without giving very much of it?
The question I ask myself all of the time is simply this :

Why does it have to be combat at all ?

We had Puzzle Quest. An RPG (well, kind of) which worked very well without a single bit of "real" combat !

What I envision is something I call an "Puzzle RPG", where the emphasis is not so much on combat - but on puzzles (of any kinds) instead.

It would be a kind of hybrid between an Adventure game and an RPG.

We often have lockpicking as "puzzles" within RPGs already - but I could imagine a lot of more !

For example trap-finding. The only RPG that coimes to my mind that has quite an emphasis on trap-finding is DDO. I don't remember any other game having that … But maybe it's too long ago that I played some which had it (BG, maybe ?).

Trap-finding and trap-disarming would a) be appeal to all those who'd rather prefer to play "classic" line-ups in RPGs (with Rogues, for example, like in (A)D&D ) and b) appeal to those who just get bored by too much combat.

With all these hack & slay "Action-RPGs", we are - imho - at one extreme of a possible scale of RPGs : Full with lots of combat, yes, even so that combat is dominating the whiole game, and everything is simply left out (but loot).

Nowadays it's almost like "if it has combat, then it is either a shooter or an RPG !", to put it quite cynically.
Or, to use other words : RPG = Combat.

SIM's Medieval is an odd thing - but it shows me that there are still other paths designers can go. Viable paths. SIM's Medieval got an add-on, which means that it sold moderately well.

I simply miss variety.
Everything's so much reduced nowadays. (Imho.)

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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May 13th, 2013, 14:21
Puzzle Quest was actually pretty much just combat - only that it used a very abstracted, and highly unusual combat system, match-3 puzzles!
But I agree, it would be great, and high time, that other gameplay elements get more development. It's the natural adrenaline high that makes combat receive the majority of attention, and maybe that's fine, but as you say, lockpicking, trap finding, treasure finding, conversation, climbing, disguise, construction (of traps, barriers, houses, …), crafting, are all pretty much wide open spaces for exploration and experimentation by creative developers.
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May 13th, 2013, 15:01
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
SIM's Medieval is an odd thing - but it shows me that there are still other paths designers can go. Viable paths. SIM's Medieval got an add-on, which means that it sold moderately well.
That game was far better than it had a right to be. It's a shame that it didn't have just a bit more work put into it, with different settings, styles, randomised kingdoms, and whatnot. It just didn't have enough depth to keep you playing.
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May 13th, 2013, 15:22
Originally Posted by Korplem View Post
You're right. I can't think of a single game that had more than 2 joinable evil characters. Baldur's Gate had those two that you meet early in the game, might be a few others.

As for fantasy tropes in books, Wizards First Rule is a prime example of what I hate. It is a little old now, so maybe it came out before there were, you know, writing standards and whatnot. I just read it a year or two ago and had to force myself to finish it. Absolute garbage as far as I'm concerned. Oh a nice handsome young man that finds a beautiful woman to save, finds out he is a chosen one, goes on quest to kill big bad man, yada yada yada. Bad guy's name is Panis. Yeah, Panis.
Wow, BG is the exception, not the rule. BG had Viconia, Xzar, Montaron, Kagain, Edwin, Eldoth, Shar Teel, and Tiax. Safana and Quayle both acted evil, though their alignment was neutral.

I'm fine with the status quo. I'd like slightly less combat in all my games, but there needs to be enough to use the stats and skills that are acquired. I'm probably never going to play a game where I can't choose a humanoid character. I need to be able to see myself as the protagonist, or the game won't work for me. I can imagine myself as an elf, so I almost always play human, elf, or half-elf.

I do remember enjoying Conquest of the New World, where you would gain experience for discovering new locations. A game where you played an archaeologist; who would be rewarded by finding various ruins, or an explorer who got credit for mapping rivers, mountains, dungeons, etc, would work well. You could lessen combat but focus more on learning how to interact peacefully with the local habitants.
Last edited by crpgnut; May 13th, 2013 at 15:37.
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May 13th, 2013, 19:27
Dump classes. And levels.
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May 13th, 2013, 21:33
Dart, I completely agree with everything you've written. That's the game that I've been wanting to play for a long time. So, if you're working on it, hurry up!

Alrik, yes, RPG does basically equal combat right now. When people devise an RPG system, they only really take into account combat (everything else, like speech or lockpicking, is usually treated as an afterthought). There are no RPG systems for being a detective/investigator, farmer, or (as crpgnut said above) an archaeologist. I'm not saying I absolutely want to play as a farmer, but it's hard to believe that after 30+ years of CRPGs nobody has really tried anything other than combat as the primary focus.

crpgnut, I wasn't saying that BG didn't have more, just that it was the first I could think of with evil characters. I just couldn't remember any more than Montaron and Kagin. Now that I think of it, I think KoTOR also had a few evil characters like HK47 and the Mandalorian guy.
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May 15th, 2013, 17:12
I can think of a few things:

The Prophecy!
You, the completely untrained farmer at 18, is the only one in the entire world who can save the world from certain doom because of some crazy old prophecy. All the weapon masters and arch mages of the world who has spent decades becoming the masters of their craft are clueless. The 18 year old farm boy with no training must be the one to set things right. Because the prophecy says so.

Evil because it's evil
I can't stand sentient beings that are evil simply because they're evil. I don't expect complete realism in a fantasy setting (it's fantasy after all), but if a species is capable of thinking and communicating, their point of view will vary. It is unavoidable.

Saving the world
Why is always the entire world on the line? Don't get me wrong, saving the world is certainly an important task, but such a scope is too massive to truly comprehend. The most fun RPGs I can think of - Gothic, MM7, BG and so on all had some sort of personal quest for the most part.

Blunt weapons do extra damage against skeletons
I've never figured this out. Why is crushing a bone supposed to be easier than slicing it? Cutting a skeleton limb from limb would require less effort than grinding it to dust.

Rogue class in combat
These days, everything has to be balanced, so a rogue must be able to go toe-to-toe with a knight. This is nonsense. If you're going to fight someone face to face, and you have access to the best armor available, you'll use it. There's no such thing as dexterity somehow making leather armor as good as full plate. It's not possible. A dagger wielding, leather armor wearing rogue meeting a full plate wearing knight with longsword and shield in a regular duel would get his ass handed to him so badly it's hard to even describe it. We're talking complete roadkill here. I can only think of two reasons to wear leather armor:
- You want to sneak around without making CLING-CLANG noises.
- You can't afford plate or chain mail. This is by far the most common reason.

There are more scenarios, but these were the most annoying I could think of right now.
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May 15th, 2013, 21:45
Drakensang 2 was insofar interesting as if it didn't contain an "saving the world" plot.

What I don't quite understand is your "Rogue comnbat" thing - how is he or she supposed to win against a full-plate warrior ? Using a pointy rapier against "breaches in the wall" ?

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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May 16th, 2013, 00:36
The one thing IMO even worse than having to save the world, is having to pay to do it. The world is about to end and only if I can wield the Great Sword of Doom against Foozle will I have any chance of saving everyone from certain death. However, first I have to get enough money to PAY for this sword!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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