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Author Topic: Dentin: strengthening the newbie starting experience  (Read 3312 times)
Draak
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« on: May 08, 2014, 06:52:02 am »

Goals

1. "front load" classes with at least two active skills or spells at level 1

2. highlight basic class role and functionality with these spells or skills

3. if possible, design the spells and skills to synergize well, and to maintain utility even at higher levels

Warrior

kick, slam (new) and 10% parry

Slam is a shield-based power attack. You slam your shield into your enemy.  It requires slightly more movement than kick but inflicts about the same amount of damage. It carries a de-buff: the next warrior skill the slammer uses against the enemy (other than another slam) does an extra 1d4 + (warriorskilllevel/2) damage. This formula could be modified to include strength modifiers, damroll, or any other factors. The de-buff would last only a few seconds, but longer than the lag caused by slam.

You lose the armor bonus from your shield just before and for short time after the slam.

Slam becomes a weighed decision -- briefly lower your AC to to do bonus damage with your next kick, pommel strike, jab or whatever. It is similar to bash, which trades a few hitpoints for the chance to knock down an enemy. It could even compared to a micro-berserk.

Thief

trip, flick (new), pickpocket or dodge 10%

Flick (or graze, cut, gambit, whatever you want to call it) is an active skill that can only be used against an opponent that has been knocked down in combat, and only with stabbing or slicing weapons. The thief takes advantage of the opening caused by being knocked down and does a quick swipe with their weapon, doing 1/2 normal damage (maybe some thiefskilllevel added in?).

Flick overrides the lag from trip, but carries its own lag so you can't just infinite loop trip and flick or do multiple flicks.

This also has the benefit of creating a logical step between trip and bloodletting stab.

While I think thief having pickpocket at first level would be very thematic, I get the feeling it wouldn't be very practical given that the game engages the player in combat right off the bat.

Mage

static blast (modified), shower of sparks, chill touch

Give static blast a de-buff to subtract 5% from zapsave for a tick or two.

Mages would have the three primary elemental damage types you see in most fantasy settings at their disposal when they start. Each one has its own minor de-buff so they are not just run-of-the-mill elemental damage clones.

Get rid of elemental lore, let players see their saves by default. This is a pointless practice sink and a relic of a bygone design model. It no more belongs in the modern game than monitor vitality does.

Add another low level spell or two to refill low-level spell choices. I know Dentin has idea files filled with stuff to implement, so there's no need to give him a list.

Cleric

cure light, cause light, afflict (new)

afflict -- short duration curse. All cleric damage spells are treated as 1 (maybe 2 or 3 at higher levels) level higher when cast on the target.

Alternatively, faith shield could be front-loaded to emphasize cleric's defensive abilities and religious nature.

Necromancer

cold fire, clayman, blood sacrifice

Dentin did a great job of tightly designing necromancer. The only suggestion I might have is front-loading blood sacrifice, so players have something to do with corpses immediately. Nothing puts the "necro" in "necromancy" like being able to mess with dead bodies.

Druid

gust of wind... and... uh...

Druid is... well I'm not sure what their role is. They have lots of minions (indeed more unique minions than necromancer, though arguably not as diverse in function), a few defensive spells and regeneration buffs (almost none of them directly castable), a variety of direct damage and AoE spells and a smattering of specialist handler abilities (animal handling, defoliate, release sunlight), along with resource generation and eq crafting.

They really should have most of the mage's body alteration tree. Maybe a constitution buff can be 1st level?

Other ideas range from calling insects to do bloodmist imp style attacks or perhaps forage and thunder seeds can be lowered to first level?

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: May 28, 2014, 05:14:04 pm by Draak » Logged

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Draak
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2014, 07:17:28 am »

Some higher level ideas that might relate to lower level design:

General

Remove requiring specific implements for a handful of skills like firestarting, butchering and skinning. Other skills that, in practice, should require special tools, such as the runecarving skills, pick lock and harvest teeth, do not require require them. Petroglyph, for example, assumes you have a set of chisels for the task.

Fishing is perhaps the only skill that should retain specific implements, as fishing poles already exist as tools of varying quality, with a set capacity that can actually alter the outcome of the skill. And the brewing skills should still require a container, of course.

Mage

Body alteration goes to druid and is expanded. Everyone I've talked to about it agreed that it made sense. There will be little outcry as long as it done with grandfathering and the spells are, at the very least, able to be put on spellstaffs. I'd also recommend that strength, dexterity and any con boosting spell be brewable as a tinctures in addition to mage brewing.

infravision stays and becomes a low-level fire spell.

water breathing stays and becomes "force bubble". This spell creates a semi-permeable force field around the caster that allows oxygen in but keeps water out. Force bubble just gives a water breathing effect, while gills reduces movement costs in water, stream, swamp, ocean, river and underwater terrains (it gives the target webbed fingers, think of Gillyweed from Harry Potter. Force bubble is more like the Bubblehead Charm).

Basic magics becomes available to all spell casting classes.

Cleric

presence
 charm person
 peace
  solace


There's a pretty natural progression here. It trims down the bulky divine aid spell group to create a "divine tranquility" grouping.

haven could be moved to the healing tree.

sense life goes to the druid body alteration tree.

ward undead - This isn't a mirror of ward good/evil that only works on undead. Hear me out!

The spell is cast on a room. When an undead creature enters the room, it is hit with a hold undead spell equal to the level the ward. If it fails to land, the ward will ignore the undead unless it leaves and reenters the room.

Each time a hold undead effect is attempted on an undead creature, the duration of the ward is reduced.

It might be a good idea to have the ward send the caster a message when it fails to hold an undead, or when it expires:

"You feel a sudden chill as an undead creature breaches your ward!"

This spell should cost a lot of mana but last for a while since the duration shrinks. It could be decent level 37+ spell for cleric.

Thief

Split off a throwing tree from the fighting tree and round it out with a couple new throwing skills:

dirt throwing
 knife throwing
  potion throwing
   grenadier
 double throw


grenadier -- when throwing grenades in melee, they do increased damage (5 + 1d(thiefskilllevel/2) or somesuch). This is due to being able to throw the grenades directly at enemy weak spots. The thief would also able to avoid damage from his own grenades (most of the time...).

double throw -- passive skill that gives you a chance to throw two weapons at a single target with the knife throwing skill, provided you have multiple identical weapons in your inventory.

Split the tree once again into defensive and melee skills:

dodge
 withdraw
 feint
(moved from warrior)
 contortionism


Feint is better suited as a thief skill, as it uses intelligence and dexterity as its key stats. It flows naturally from dodge.

Contortionism is a progression of physical flexibility and positioning learned from dodge.

This tree could use a higher level ability of some sort:

shift weapon based on feint, this skill allows a player wielding a one-handed weapon and a shield or empty hand to quickly shift their weapon from one hand to the other to make an extra attack, then shift it back. It lets a player make an extra attack with their primary weapon after landing a successful first attack. It has no lag but has a cooldown and would become less effective each time it is used on the same enemy.

Flourish: you put on a brief display with your weapon in order to lower your opponent's morale and perhaps other debuffs? Dependent on feint. Think something along the lines of that swordsman that Indiana Jones shot in "Raiders of the Lost Ark", though Indy's charisma was too high to be intimidated by a such a display of swordsmanship...

Divert: when engaging multiple targets in melee, you position yourself so that when you dodge one enemy's attack, they strike another opponent instead. This works similar to riposte: you enter into a stance and the next time you dodge, the diversion takes effect. Dependent on feint.

trip
 flick
(if you add it)
  bloodletting stab
   backstab


Trip becomes the foundation of thief melee fighting. The other skills are all about exploiting disadvantaged opponents. This tree could use another offensive ability or two ability at higher levels.

Perhaps some kind of multiple-strike ability, flurry: activate it and your next successful attack strikes two or three times, as long as it happens within a set amount of time similar to riposte. You must be wielding a weapon of at least normal speed.

Here's another possible skill: rend. If a target is bleeding from a bloodletting stab, the player can attempt a rending attack. This extends the duration of the bleeding wound and increases the rate of damage. The target also takes a penalty to movement regen due to blood loss. You must be wielding a piercing or slashing weapon for this attack.

Misc cleanup:

pick locks and examine locks should be the foundation of tinkering

survey easily fits into stealth skills, with sneak as a prerequisite.

fast talking could have bribery as a prerequisite.

fast waking could have listen as a prerequisite.

camouflage enchantment works better as a shadow skill, where the object is wrapped in an obfuscating cloak of shadow magic.

Warrior

Let's add some variety to the warrior skills:

stomp - add a de-buff. A mob that got stomped with the "hear something crunch" message cannot use warrior and thief skills that involve a lot of legwork for a short time (%1 attempts an attack, but ends up painfully hopping backwards on one foot.) Mobs with the kick and stomp dtypes could suffer a penalty to attacks (iffy).

pommel strike - add "daze" de-buff, lowers target's dodge and parry briefly. Alternatively, the dazing effect could have a chance of subtracting from or resetting the target's attack timer, as described in the article "The Mechanics of Melee Combat" http://www.alteraeon.com/articles/mechanics-of-melee-combat-1.html.

lunge - make useable in defensive fighting *IF* using a shield and a one-handed weapon (you hide behind the shield while prepping for the lunge).

Think phalanx-style fighting or even fencing to imagine this. The rear foot remains planted while the front foot kicks forward. The shield would move to the side as the torso rotates to present the weapon arm extended straight ahead. It doesn't involve nearly as much movement as leap attack. While you are exposed for a short time, you can easily return to a defensive position.

Replace feint with newbie slam skill as a power attack. Copy feint into a new vnum for thief.

Necromancer

Clerics have group casting. Mages have channel casting. Let's give necromancers blood casting. When blood casting or "bcasting" a direct damage necromancer spell, the necromancer inflicts a few hitpoints worth of damage to himself. This damage is then multiplied and added to the damage of the spell. Alternatively (or additionally?), this can boost the cast level of the spell instead.

It would be based on lifetap (duh) and you can't blood cast if you are below 20% hp (double duh).

Make corpsecutter based on preservation. This skill would have arisen quite naturally from undead corpse preparation techniques. As a standalone skill its a bit weird.

Druid

Body alteration as described above. Flesh out the spell tree.

See my druid suggestions in previous posts

druid crafting: http://forum.alteraeon.com/index.php/topic,395.0.html

earth tree: http://forum.alteraeon.com/index.php/topic,387.0.html
« Last Edit: January 28, 2015, 06:30:43 pm by Draak » Logged

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Draak
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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2014, 06:53:03 pm »

One more quick idea for stomp:

If you knock down a mob with a skill like trip, bash or charge you have a chance of auto-stomping, chance of happening dependent on your warrior skill level and if you have enough movement.
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Draak
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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2014, 05:34:04 pm »

For first level clerics, give them the anemia curse. While active, the next cause wounds spell cast on the target ends the curse, but inflicts a small amount of extra damage and causes the target to take a small amount of DoT.

"A red-skinned imp's wounds won't stop bleeding."

(The name of the curse implies that the target will get anemia from the extra bleeding, not that it actually makes the target anemic.)
« Last Edit: July 31, 2014, 03:00:04 pm by Draak » Logged

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Shadowfax
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« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2014, 04:00:46 pm »

You might need both hands free to double throw.  It could still be useful for hitting thieves if it carries the same lag as a single throw.  Gogo double shadow blades!
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Draak
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« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2014, 07:32:51 pm »

A suggestion for swim and climb:

Make players able to swim and climb by default. Make the skills reduce the movement costs, similar to forest navigation or spelunking. Learning the climb skill eliminates any chance of falling. Learning the swim skill allows for unaided dives (as described in the help file for the skill).
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