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December 21st, 2013, 04:06
The Rampant Coyote is back with another blog post about RPG design. The topic this time is about declaring vistory in combat. I agree with him he makes a vailid point.

We’re frequently limited by one of the very things we’re so focused on in most RPGs – the simplicity of combat and victory conditions. It’s generally a very binary thing. While there may be opportunities for either side to flee, for the most part it’s kill-or-be-killed, using a single indicator (health, hit points, whatever it is called) as the deciding factor.

In the real world, combat is often more of a means to an end. Two or more sides have a goals that they wish to achieve (or deny to their opponents). In fact, there are generally multiple goals of varying priorities being weighed throughout the battle, as “survival” (or “minimal casualties”) is usually pretty high on the list.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if there were multiple paths to “victory” in combat… even a case where it would be possible for both sides to declare victory and disengage? By interesting, I mean, “more interesting combat choices.” While utter and complete defeat of the enemy forces in the traditional manner as fast as possible might be a handy brute-force approach to full victory, that may not always be an optimal, necessary, or even possible approach. It gets even more interesting when victory isn’t an all-or-nothing thing, but sides could gain partial victories and losses.

Suddenly, things like battlefield mobility, distractions, prediction, counter-magic, and so forth might become far more useful than massive spell-nukes. At this point, even things like negotiation might be key combat abilities, when you can conserve resources and guarantee key goals by conceding some victory conditions to the enemy. Or vice-versa. If goals aren’t completely mutually exclusive, there may be some real strategy involved (even in an RPG) in losing a battle in order to win the war.

This isn’t completely unprecedented on the RPG front. In modern RPGs, we’ve been confronted with escort or protection missions. While very simple (but sadly, often frustrating), they are perhaps a first step into really creating much more interesting conflicts. The upcoming Torment: Tides of Numenera promises something even more interesting with their Crisis System, which makes combat just one part of a larger challenge.

I think there’s a lot of fascinating potential to explore, here. If any other indie RPG developers are looking at ways to push the boundaries of the role-playing experience in something beyond mere graphical pizzazz, this might be something to think about.
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"Beware the potato for he is easily angered."- Couchpotato
Last edited by Couchpotato; December 21st, 2013 at 05:07.
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December 21st, 2013, 04:06
Frayed Knights is on a Greenlight list to get accepted to Steam (I voted a year ago). I'm confused it hasn't gotten enough votes. Is a holiday sale to reinvigorate word of mouth and new customers to vote, on the table?

Trust me, most of the names I have been called you can't translate in any language…they're not even real words as much as a succession of violent images.
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December 21st, 2013, 05:08
We had a major bump due to a bundle that we were involved in that just barely ended, but not a holiday sale.

I'm really terrible at this. I know I need to spend more time on FK1, but I'm devoting whatever I time I have into the sequel, so I've been going a little bit bass-ackwards. Like I'm expecting the sequel (which will be AWESOME, of course!) to help sell the original.

At this rate, however, I might have both FK1 and FK2 get on Steam at the same time…

I should caution that while it's still early enough that a couple of ideas from this post *could* get incorporated into FK2 &3, it's not really designed around that. Even so, they have the most complicated spell system (under the hood) of any CRPG ever made, IMO.
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December 21st, 2013, 12:11
I have no doubt of FK2's, inexorable awesomeness!

Next year, I'll start annoying you about this in October or November.

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December 21st, 2013, 15:53
Please do. I am sure I could use the reminder.
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