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Brainstorming content.

This week I reached out for some help with brainstorming for my project.

Just browsing through a list of D&D feats and abilities showed me that this game must be the first part in a series. There's no way I can develop a fully mature 3d RPG or roguelike all at once. Therefore I should try at first to build a base which can be expanded or upgraded. This was kind of my plan from the beginning but now it's become more concrete.

[Will it take 4 years to make a sequel?]

The idea is to create a fun game that people will enjoy playing, give it away for free and then hopefully design a paid expansion or sequel.

Anyway, what did I do this week? Well first I worked on the skills and attributes.



There are 5 main attributes:
[VIGOR]

Vigor is a measure of your strength and physical vitality. Your ability to lift, throw, crush and break. Your vital life force. Fighters need a high degree of vigor but it would be useful for archers, rogues and others since it opens up feats to increase your speed and carrying capacity.

Skills that a vigorous person would have are speed, fighting skill and agility as well as carrying capacity. You can carry bigger weapons and use heavier armor if you spend points on vigor.

Feats you can get with a high vigor are mostly related to combat, but include the ability to increase your jumping distance to leap over traps or chasms and find new areas.

[ENDURANCE]

Endurance is the second physical attribute. It is your stamina and bodily toughness. Ability to heal, depths of endurance and fortitude. Stamina is good for magic users since it allows them to endure the drain of casting spells, but it's just as important for fighters since it governs hit points and ability to recover from fatigue.

Skills such as health and toughness are linked to endurance. Your hit points are a combination of your endurance attribute + your health skill.

Feats linked to endurance are true grit, where you can instantly return to full health through a temporary reduction in your abilities, or purge where you can get rid of poison or disease effects.


[FOCUS]
Focus is mental strength, aim, steadiness and quickness of mind and body. Mind over matter. Rogues need it, as do archers and mages. It is both a physical and mental attribute.

Skills related to focus include good aim, the ability to spot hidden things, and communication skills.

Feats you can get with a high focus score include the ability to avert curses through quickly making signs of protection, or a chance to find out which monsters are around by looking at their tracks.

[LEVEL]

Level is a more vague attribute used only by monsters. The aim is to streamline the creation of monsters by relying on only one attribute. Monsters also have skills and feats which will make them better or worse in some areas. Overall having a single value should help to quickly determine the points value of a particular monster.

Skills used by monsters are all augmented by their level. They include natural armor class, as well as resistances and vulnerabilities.

Feats may also be used by monsters and many of them double as spells available to the player through scrolls. For example spiders shoot webs, but so can a player with a web spell in exactly the same way.

 [FACTION]

Faction is an extra attribute. Instead of classes your have factions, either Civilized Freemen, Tribesmen, Outlaws or Occultists. Your characters will start out with a profession, anything from beggar to cook to apprentice wizard or man at arms. With more faction points you can get a move up the social ladder, to high sorcerer perhaps, or emperor. Better faction levels unlock better faction specific skills or feats. 

Skills restricted to factions include diplomacy (freemen), hiding and trapping (outlaw) and such things as mixing potions or arcane lore (Occultists).

There are also a few feats restricted to faction. Freemen can use the civilized arts of war to gain combat expertise, while outlaws can make a deadly strike like an assassin. Tribes people get a war cry and occultists get admittance to the shadow realm.

So far the lists of skills and attributes is deliberately short. Each attribute other than monster level gets only 4 skills and 5 feats. This is to keep things simple during testing and to save some stuff (such as crafting) for any expansion or sequel. It also helps to drive the level up mechanic, which is that you get essence points which you can spend on attributes or feats (if available) and which you can break down to several skill points to spend on specializing on different areas of your development.

Attributes are added to skill points when making checks, so fighting skill would be added to vigor when attacking. So you might have a vigor or 2 + a fighting skill of 9 for a total of 11. Specialization by increasing skills might then seem better than spending points on attributes, but attributes are also temporarily drained to power feats. 


As an example, sacrificing some of your vigor for a time allows you to enter a hail of blows state where your combat speed is doubled. You can regain lost attribute points only through eating during a rest.

There is one other attribute, which is Fatigue.

[FATIGUE]
As you engage in combat, get wounded, get exposed to magical radiations, or just plain over do it, you get fatigued. Fatigue acts as a negative modifier to your skill and attribute checks. So if you're going to mix a potion you should do it after resting. You can temporarily recover from fatigue by using the free feat recover. However this drains your vigor. If you have the endurance linked feat second wind, you can shift that drain to your endurance attribute and shed much more fatigue in the process.

Now of course it's time to put that all in a demo and see how well it works. I'm hopeful that it should give an interesting gameplay style, where you can use feats to greatly increase your abilities, but only for a while, and doing so too much is going to make you run out of food. So you have to try to stretch out your resources and go for longer and longer without eating or resting.

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