Author Topic: Unique PC race abilities?  (Read 8484 times)

eclectocrat

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Unique PC race abilities?
« on: May 21, 2013, 01:40:29 PM »
I make a party based roguelike game and am in the process of adding up to 10 character races. Yesterday I added a cool new race, Dryad, which can shapeshift into a tree and teleport between trees. It is a very non-standard character type, combat is prohibited to a Dryad, so you have to figure out different tactics.

Anyway, this got my noggin thinking, why fiddle with variations of standard attributes? Why not introduce mechanics that are weird? Of course the answer to that is balance, it's so much easier to balance a couple of stat mods; +4 str and -4 int is not hard to figure out. Still, seek and ye shall find, so I am here seeking for new character types with potentially unique abilities. Maybe I'll be able to balance out a few of them. Non humanoids welcome.

Thanks for any advice!

Quendus

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Re: Unique PC race abilities?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2013, 02:42:04 PM »
That's the best way to make a roguelike interesting! Make sure the abilities (and any exceptions to their rules) are well-documented, otherwise you get spoiler-based gameplay.

Darren Grey

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Re: Unique PC race abilities?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2013, 02:54:43 PM »
Balance isn't too important in a roguelike - it's well accepted that some races and classes are easier or harder to play.  And sometimes things are just "different", not qualitatively superior overall.  Your dryad sounds cool!

Every game ends up with different challenge modes invented by the player. It's nice to actually have these incorporated into the game in the form of race/class choices.

eclectocrat

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Re: Unique PC race abilities?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2013, 03:42:46 PM »
That's the best way to make a roguelike interesting! Make sure the abilities (and any exceptions to their rules) are well-documented, otherwise you get spoiler-based gameplay.

Currently I'm keeping a spreadsheet of abilities and their 'point costs' in terms of game power. It's useful, but as new mechanics enter the game, previous abilities that may have been worth, say, 15 points, might jump to being worth 30 points, or even become nerfed to 5 points. It's a hard juggle, and I have no idea how many points being able to teleport tree to tree is worth! It's obviously worth less than restriction free teleport (30 points), but it's so hard to come up with a number. It's usually pretty arbitrary and then gets ironed out later.

Balance isn't too important in a roguelike - it's well accepted that some races and classes are easier or harder to play.  And sometimes things are just "different", not qualitatively superior overall.  Your dryad sounds cool!

Every game ends up with different challenge modes invented by the player. It's nice to actually have these incorporated into the game in the form of race/class choices.

While I agree, I still feel like I need a 'core' set of classes/races (same thing in my game) that I can balance the game to. Then, as I introduce new races, they can be brought into the fold slowly. I'm just worried about the options available to the new player, I don't want anyone to accidentally create a very poorly balanced party, even though it's impossible to prevent that without prescribing a specific party format.

Holsety

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Re: Unique PC race abilities?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2013, 03:49:53 PM »
Why balance?
Er, that came out wrong.
You'll want to balance the monsters so they don't "unfairly" kill the player. (Ie. if a monster consistently kills the player, regardless of his race/level/equipment, you need to do something about it)

But for the player races/classes/abilities? Don't worry too much about balance. Cool/Weird/Fun mechanics/abilities is awesome. Of course you need to look out for abilities that basically mean "you've already won the game, you just need to input the time needed to reach the end".

I like Minotaurs/Dwarves that get bonuses when in mazes/caves.
You could have a "dumb and greedy" race like the standard folktale Troll; he's SKRONG, but he'll automatically pick up and equip anything he finds (or anything that's golden? shiny?).
Skeletons or Mummies like in Crawl are nice too. (Can't eat or drink, but can't starve either. Won't get poisoned, won't bleed out. Good luck trying to heal in a pinch, though!)
Undead that get stat penalties in daylight and bonuses in darkness

What I'd really like to see in a roguelike though? Some sort of Terraforming character. You could make them unable to fight, but let them remove/place walls, dig pit traps, dig a hole straight down to the next level. Let them place up/down stairs and sliding floors.


While I agree, I still feel like I need a 'core' set of classes/races (same thing in my game) that I can balance the game to. Then, as I introduce new races, they can be brought into the fold slowly. I'm just worried about the options available to the new player, I don't want anyone to accidentally create a very poorly balanced party, even though it's impossible to prevent that without prescribing a specific party format.

In that case...
Some sort of caster that can siphon mana between characters.
Or a type of wizard that has no mana; instead he drains mana from all living things around him (friend + foe!) to cast spells. If there's not enough creatures around him he simply won't be able to cast the more expensive spells.
If you've played Diablo II you might remember the necromancer's Corpse Explosion? Pick a corpse, it explodes, all around it take damage.
Or a type of mage that can infuse others' abilities/spells with an element. Barbarian going for a cleave? Frost Cleave now. Necromancer casting Corpse Explosion? Thunder Corpse Explosion now. etc etc.

For party based games I like skills that have synergy... Skills that influence your party members, or aura's (passive effects that are applied to several friendlies. Or only to foes!)
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jlund3

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Re: Unique PC race abilities?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2013, 04:29:04 PM »
I really like the idea of a game centered around unique abilities like this. I agree with the other responses: your dryad idea sounds cool.

My first thoughts of how to come up with these abilities was to seek inspiration from monster abilities in other roguelikes. For example, you could borrow the ice monster from the original rogue. He can freeze his opponents, leaving them vulnerable to his allies. I could imagine a nymph/leprechaun of some sort, which just helps you get more items/gold.

Another thought I had was a race which can absorb/steal/transfer abilities. This would potentially allow the party to adapt in situations where the chosen set of abilities is inadequate, but might also lead to severe inbalances...

Vanguard

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Re: Unique PC race abilities?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2013, 04:36:33 PM »
Anyway, this got my noggin thinking, why fiddle with variations of standard attributes? Why not introduce mechanics that are weird?

These are wonderful questions to ask.  I'd like to see more RPGs that do away with attributes entirely.

Assigning point scores to different powers seems inefficient at best.  Even if you somehow manage to assign "correct" values to each ability, it doesn't take into account how effective different ability combinations are, which is just as important if not more so than how strong each power is in a vacuum.

I'd say the best way to do it is to just kind of wing it and go with what feels right, and then find out what's too strong and too weak during playtesting.

eclectocrat

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Re: Unique PC race abilities?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2013, 04:51:58 PM »
I'd say the best way to do it is to just kind of wing it and go with what feels right, and then find out what's too strong and too weak during playtesting.

The point system is just a helper, the real balancing is always done through play. Still, in my experience, my flawed point system helps balance and focus my intuition. I'm not a slave to it!

Undead that get stat penalties in daylight and bonuses in darkness

Some sort of caster that can siphon mana between characters.
Or a type of wizard that has no mana; instead he drains mana from all living things around him (friend + foe!) to cast spells. If there's not enough creatures around him he simply won't be able to cast the more expensive spells.
If you've played Diablo II you might remember the necromancer's Corpse Explosion? Pick a corpse, it explodes, all around it take damage.

Or a type of mage that can infuse others' abilities/spells with an element. Barbarian going for a cleave? Frost Cleave now. Necromancer casting Corpse Explosion? Thunder Corpse Explosion now. etc etc.

For party based games I like skills that have synergy... Skills that influence your party members, or aura's (passive effects that are applied to several friendlies. Or only to foes!)

Very much like these suggestions. I think I'm going to create a (non-sexual) harpy like creature that steals HP from near creatures (allies and enemies alike) and focuses it on something. When I have a proper day-night cycle in my game, you can bet that there will be werewolves and undead PC characters!

Thanks for all the suggestions!

malignatius

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Re: Unique PC race abilities?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2013, 05:04:38 PM »
How about a race that gains different abilities (temporary) depending on what it devours? Some kind of soul-eater?

I agree with Vanguard regarding atributes, though I don't find them necessary bad, however there should at least be less focus on them.

eclectocrat

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Re: Unique PC race abilities?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2013, 08:38:31 PM »
How about a race that gains different abilities (temporary) depending on what it devours? Some kind of soul-eater?

I agree with Vanguard regarding atributes, though I don't find them necessary bad, however there should at least be less focus on them.

LOL! Perfect, my avatar is a monster from the game, he is supposed to be the all devouring cube. I won't make it a PC race, but dang, I've got some monster designing to do!

EDIT: I'm going to make a RL style Kirby.

Vanguard

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Re: Unique PC race abilities?
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2013, 09:48:56 PM »
Wait, you're putting Kirby in a roguelike and he ISN'T playable?

I urge you to reconsider this.

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Re: Unique PC race abilities?
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2013, 02:04:26 AM »
There are lots of cool things you can do as special starting powers:

-Elemental Golem: Air, Fire, Water, Earth...metal, etc...player can switch between them and gain different properties. Each form is weak versus something and strong vs another, it takes a turn to switch and you have limited switches according to a cooldown or energy bar.

-Living Statue: Can solidify at will and be super hard to kill, but also cannot move or attack until re-animating.

-Druid: Sticking with the shape shifting, a druid that changes into different animals is tried and true. Wow has a Druid class that can go Bear (high defense), Panther (high attack, stealth too) etc...

-Lycanthrope: I always like the idea of a werewolf class that is weak as a human but can turn into a werewolf at night and own. And you can choose when you create the class what kind of Lycanthrope you want to be, wereboar, werehawk, werebear, etc...There's a 7DRL in there for sure.

-Halflings: if they stand still cannot be detected by baddies. Ninjas are similar. Maybe it takes a few turns, and no bad guys can be around, but standing still will turn you invisible.
-Angels: Winged characters, they can fly but have very restricted choices of what they can attack. If they break their vows they lose their wings for awhile.
-Demons have wings AND spit fire but are super weak against holy type monsters and attacks.
-Toucher: Any monster ability can be turned into a player ability by bumping and stealing...there's a 7DRL there too.
-Ghost: I like the 7DRL Possession, where you possess monsters. Use strategy to jump from character to character.
-Charmer: Also there's the Bard or Preacher class where you charm baddies to fight for you, maybe you cannot fight for yourself or you lose some of your Preacher points or something. Or you can only charm certain types of baddies, like Snake Charmer or whatever works for your theme. You have a certain amount of charming points. In some thematic schemes this can be a Geisha or Mistress or some such. Succubus that may only charm male humanoids? Gigilobus that can only charm female humanoids? Bird singer, horse whisperer etc etc...

-Incubus: Must decided when to insert oneself into an unsuspecting creature and be reborn. So this character class could do no healing, and must save up energy by killing and eating souls in order to use the 'incubate' ability and be reborn out of another creature. The tougher the creature, the tougher the resulting incubus...you'd level this way, but the tougher the creature the more energy you'd need to incubate into it.

-Nuclear Man/Exploder: I had a 7DRL idea (I always am having new 7DRL ideas) where your character's power is to explode on command. He dies, but his spirit lives on and sort of reassembles itself. You are very weak as you are reassembling, and all your gear is gone, but you can kill ANYTHING in the area by exploding. The class would be 'Nuclear Man' in a campy scifi game, and you wouldn't explode so much as release a ton of energy. All gear and baddies are fried. Also in a sci fi setting you can over load a bit on radiation and then HAVE to explode or lose HP and die. The more radiation, the bigger the explosion. So the strategy is to wait and get more powerful, or blow up early when you find a good spot to recover.

-Mana Drainer (Egam, opposite of mage) - Like nuclear man, but fantasy themed. You slowly absorb energy from the area, getting hit with spells and such increases your energy bar by a ton. At some point you have to release all the power. Lose all gear, kill all baddies in the area that can be harmed, and end up weakened but with a depleted mana/energy bar.

-Boreworm: Can move through walls. Can't wield or wear anything, but heals and eats and grows like crazy.

-Gelly: Surely this type of race has been mentioned already. Eat stuff, take on some of that item's properties for a bit. Flesh and bone heal you, metal makes your stronger, magic stuff gives you more energy to make you faster and what not. Wood can give you splinters to shoot at enemies.

I'm sure I can think of more, but those are some cool ones.