Author Topic: Newbie Brainstorming  (Read 7551 times)

Bronze Dog

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Newbie Brainstorming
« on: July 16, 2011, 09:45:15 PM »
Hi, everyone. First time posting here at the Temple. I stopped by since I've gotten roguelikes on the brain, lately, and I've got the germ of a seed of an idea for a roguelike game. I thought I'd introduce myself and get some inspiration from more devoted players and programmers. My life's somewhat busy now, so if I ever decide to grind out some code, it'll be a while. So, without further ado, here's some of what I've been thinking about:

Setting: A giant dungeon complex simply known as the Labyrinth, located in its own demiplane. Viewed from outside, it appears as a series of connected floors, offset from one another. Some of these floors are open to the outside "sky" and have a developed ecosystem. No one knows who or what built the place or why it exists. (mostly because I haven't come up with those facts, yet.)

Races: In this one, you're one of the monsters. Some of the races I'm thinking of: Kobolds, goblins, imps, gremlins. In short, small humanoids who are typically the monsters in your average fantasy game. For kobolds, I'm thinking mostly the 'cutebold' version from the Kobold Camp mod of Dwarf Fortress. Gremlins are crazy tinkerers. Goblins will probably be one of the more martial races. Suggestions welcome for everything else. Adventurers who wandered into the Labyrinth will fill in the role of bosses or other tough solo creatures.

Gods: Instead of gods that are just 'out there', your average god will be in the form of a 'totem' you equip. Having a totem equipped will give you benefits if you are in good standing with the god, and you will be subject to certain codes of conduct or risk punishment. The biggest benefits will generally come from the most strict totems. I'd also like some ideas on how altars and totems could interact.

Elements/Color: I haven't fully thought this through, but there are six Colors associated with different concepts. There won't really be a scheme of elemental paper-rock-scissors, so much as a 'style' for each color. I might use it as a substitute for character class in some ways.

Red: Fire, lightning, rage, barbarians, blaster mages.
Blue: Air, water, exploration, trade, movement.
Yellow: Earth, crystal, defenders, stability, tradition.
Green: Nature, plants, animals, tribalism, druids, shamans.
Purple: Raw arcane magic, divination, secrets, madness, metamagic (magic that affects other magic).
Silver: Metal, invention, mechanics, enchanted items.

Starting out: Your character will start in a village of his race on one of the dungeon levels. You can choose to go up or down.

Metagame: I'm trying to think of some fun features. Ghosts of dead characters, totems of ascended characters, named items left behind, that sort of thing.

Psiweapon

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Re: Newbie Brainstorming
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2011, 11:22:29 PM »
Nice ideas. I like the "small humanoid" races a lot.

Are you going to use the D&D "open source" content? Since it seems you have a lot of D&D influence.

How are you going to handle the depth of monsters, if you can go up or down?
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Bronze Dog

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Re: Newbie Brainstorming
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2011, 11:39:43 PM »
I am a D&D fan, but I don't have any plans to use the "open source" stuff right now. That may change if it's easier to use. There are probably a lot of users here who made D&D-based roguelikes who I could borrow from, if they're willing.

I'm not sure how the difficulty curve will go. One obvious idea is to have it gradually increase as you move further from your home level, but I'd welcome ideas on how to change that up. Another is to simply have monsters spawn according to your character's experience, number of "story" flags tripped, or something like that.

Psiweapon

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Re: Newbie Brainstorming
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2011, 12:51:56 AM »
Yes, distance to home level answers that.


With increasing distance, monsters could not only get harder, but also weirder, as in unrelated to your home level's ecology.

The "equippable god" idea as totems is awesome.
The invisible hand is a lie, the fiendish dogma of the market cultists. Lest the apostasy grows strong, their blood god will devour each and everyone, pious and infidel alike.

Bronze Dog

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Re: Newbie Brainstorming
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2011, 03:50:04 AM »
Yeah, I thought it was an interesting twist. The mental image I have is the sort of "Tiki god" stereotype, with a bit of capricious/vengeful side of some Roguelike gods.

Some relevant ideas:

BUC: Cursed totems start out hating you for no particular reason, so you have to quickly figure out what will mollify them and end the punishments. Blessed totems are more forgiving than standard.

Altars: There are many 'blank' altars around. You can set a totem of yours on them to perform sacrifices. If you're in good standing with the totem, it can be used to ward enemies away from an item stash at the altar, which gives players an excuse to use more than one totem. Other altars have a totem on them you can pick up, if you get permission.

Ascended characters: Ascended characters get added to the list of totems, and their benefits and taboos are related to how that character was played.

Psiweapon

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Re: Newbie Brainstorming
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2011, 08:15:30 AM »
Yeah, I thought it was an interesting twist. The mental image I have is the sort of "Tiki god" stereotype, with a bit of capricious/vengeful side of some Roguelike gods.

Some relevant ideas:

BUC: Cursed totems start out hating you for no particular reason, so you have to quickly figure out what will mollify them and end the punishments. Blessed totems are more forgiving than standard.
And how would players find out what a particular totem dictates? Besides finding out accidentally, that is, doing a particular action that is encouraged/forbidden. One thing that could help a player gain standing with a totem, or make the totem slightly more forgiving, could be using gear that matches the totem's color.

Quote
Altars: There are many 'blank' altars around. You can set a totem of yours on them to perform sacrifices. If you're in good standing with the totem, it can be used to ward enemies away from an item stash at the altar, which gives players an excuse to use more than one totem. Other altars have a totem on them you can pick up, if you get permission.
The ward mechanic is a very good idea. Not only for items, but to set up some kind of refuge too. How would you get permission? Offering of a particular item?

Ideas for offerings, if there are offerings:

Different totems like different kinds of offerings. Ones might like blood sacrifices (red or green totems, yet others might like food or booze offerings, or a specific kind of item (sandals for a blue totem, weird reagents or magic items for purple totems, valuables for yellow totems...)

Giving totems a list of "ok" offerings depending on color, with a couple of preferred or even "required" offerings, and another couple of taboo offerings, would give players grounds on which to guess how to appease a totem, but still make it risky and reflect their vengeful nature.

(e.g. a green totem that likes potion offerings, requires plant material offerings every N turns,  but would take the offering of a low-level healing pot as an insult)

Quote
Ascended characters: Ascended characters get added to the list of totems, and their benefits and taboos are related to how that character was played.

That sounds awesome, and would just make sense as they would be like legendary ancestors. Bonus points if villages or other dungeon features are named after them, or select items from their ascending kit get artifact'ed and scattered throughout the dungeon:

"The tentacled mutant ogre is wielding HumiesChopper, your tribe's great ancestor long lost eldritch axe! His totem commands the retrieval of this sacred relic!"
The invisible hand is a lie, the fiendish dogma of the market cultists. Lest the apostasy grows strong, their blood god will devour each and everyone, pious and infidel alike.

Bronze Dog

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Re: Newbie Brainstorming
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2011, 02:51:53 PM »
I have given the subject some thought, and your offering suggestions according to color are good ideas. I had considered totems to have colors, hinted at with material (wood for green, stone for yellow, etcetera). Making standard sets of offerings for each color would be appropriate.

Given that each color has a 'style', they'd also have some general sets of preferred behaviors: A purple totem would most likely prefer spell casting, divination, and item identification, and discourage brute force methods.

One thought I had was that you'd gain some insights into totems by placing them at altars: In sacred places, the totem gods can speak more clearly. Blessed totems would speak without riddles or ambiguity.

Another idea I had, though it'd be more work to program is to have procedurally generated totems with descriptions that hint at the totem's desires: If the totem is a statue holding a sword, it probably prefers swords, or at least melee combat. If it's standing over a particular monster's corpse, it might prefer offerings of that monster's type. That sort of thing.

On the topic of warding a refuge, it'd make sense for villages to be built around a totem and altar. It makes me wonder if there could be a 'ruin your hometown' approach to the game, where you steal the totem, removing its protection and angering your people.

---

Separate idea: I like the idea of engraving like in NetHack. One possible application I thought of is having a different "Elbereth" for each color. Another idea that comes to mind is creating magic circles and such to be used in magic rituals.

The Oracle: A step above the totem gods, she is a (purple) goddess of knowledge whose statues appear randomly in the Labyrinth. She'll reveal bits of hidden lore when given an offering. (In short, I put obscure, undocumented tricks in the game, and she gives hints about them.)

Psiweapon

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Re: Newbie Brainstorming
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2011, 03:06:32 PM »
Usually gods, in myth, are represented under several guises or aspects.

You could have a number of fixed gods (expanding as characters manage to ascend), and then a number of "adjectives" that further modify the totem's behavior, applicable to different gods depending on color.

Let's imagine we have Clomgir, a yellow goblin deity. Totems could come, for example, in the following flavors:

Clomgir Protector which has excellent warding properties, and protects you from damage

Clomgir Lawgiver which reduces the chance of hostile goblins, and protects you from bad magic.

Clomgir Wordkeeper which gives you dungeon knowledge, and helps you cast good magic.

Or something like that could be the *fully identified name* and  as you said, before fully knowing the totem you only know: Clomgir wearing a shield with his right palm extended, Clomgir with a book and a hammer, Clomgir as an old man.

I think the specific concepts aren't very fitting, but you can substitute them for other specifics that match species and colors.
The invisible hand is a lie, the fiendish dogma of the market cultists. Lest the apostasy grows strong, their blood god will devour each and everyone, pious and infidel alike.

Bronze Dog

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Re: Newbie Brainstorming
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2011, 04:07:47 PM »
I do think emphasizing aspects of a god is an interesting idea, but it kind of goes against the grain of the "small gods" idea I'm going for with totems. I tend to see big gods as having broader views, and not as likely to reward or punish individuals as they would in a roguelike. But if you've got a small god being carried around by an individual who is their primary follower of the time being, they're going to exert their power more often.

Psiweapon

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Re: Newbie Brainstorming
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2011, 04:35:45 PM »
Yeah, you're right  :) and it's a cool idea, the small gods thing, a departure from roguelike standards. Although it does bear some resemblance to the god system in POWDER, as in that game you choose a god each level and they're all watching you and doing things most of the time.

Just throwing ideas at you  8)

It could be nice if you oculd not only place totems in existing altars, but  you could also seldomly *make* an altar for your totem if you have a very strong relationship and follow the required procedure.



What materials would purple totems, blue totems or red totems be made of ? Bone for red totems, since bone is an animal substance just as blood, but I can't think anything for the other ones.
The invisible hand is a lie, the fiendish dogma of the market cultists. Lest the apostasy grows strong, their blood god will devour each and everyone, pious and infidel alike.

Bronze Dog

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Re: Newbie Brainstorming
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2011, 05:07:14 PM »
Tossing ideas is why this thread is here, and you don't have direct access to my imagination, so don't worry.

What got me into my current roguelike mood was playing Powder on my new iPod, so yeah, it's probably having some influence on me. I have iNetHack, too, but I think I'd rather play big name on my laptop.

Making altars through some difficult procedure, or requiring a rare resource did occur to me as well. I like the idea of modifying the dungeon to your advantage, rather than just plowing through the monsters. There might be a way to use that for some metagaming, too: Build an altar, use a totem to ward the area, and you've got a new village you might re-encounter.

Some thoughts on totem materials, including possible deliberate overlaps:

Green: Wood, bone, decorated with ivory, fangs, leaves, amber.
Yellow: Stone, crystal, encrusted with gems.
Red: Glass, ceramics, tempered steel, bone, decorated with flame shapes.
Blue: Precious metals, ice, seashell, coral, feather decorations.
Silver: Iron, steel, mechanisms.
Purple: Paper, fabric, engraved with runes.

Psiweapon

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Re: Newbie Brainstorming
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2011, 02:51:38 AM »
All materials seem fitting but the purple list needs expanding.

What about scarce materials, or clay with strange materials added into the mix? Or magnetic stones, anything that would sound like it might react strangely with different energies. Or maybe stones that aren't precious but are mesmerizing, or specially reflecting. Materials from magical or very scarce sources.
The invisible hand is a lie, the fiendish dogma of the market cultists. Lest the apostasy grows strong, their blood god will devour each and everyone, pious and infidel alike.

Bronze Dog

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Re: Newbie Brainstorming
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2011, 06:23:01 PM »
I'm starting to think mithral would be a good purple material, since it tends to have magical associations, though it could straddle the line between purple and silver in terms of color, since mithral is one of those high-quality mythical metals.

---

Recently picked up Dungeons of Dredmore (playing on the "Rogue" difficulty level with permadeath), and I've started to think about character skills and spells. I think I might copy some of that system, and sort those skills into different colors. Your character's color is determined by whichever you have the most of. Races could differ by starting out with bonus skills of one color ("Pick one green skill" or "All Xs start with skill Y.").

I'll expand a bit on that, later, but feel free to put a few ideas down.

Psiweapon

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Re: Newbie Brainstorming
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2011, 06:12:00 AM »
Huhh... Mithril is over-done!  :-[

-

What you're saying about spells and colors is similar to the tabletop RPG I've got in development. There are fire, water, air, sun, moon, and star spells, and a given spellcaster will be aligned with the one of which s/he has more spells.
The invisible hand is a lie, the fiendish dogma of the market cultists. Lest the apostasy grows strong, their blood god will devour each and everyone, pious and infidel alike.